The news came in this morning that the Steelers had signed franchised outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley to a 6-year, $61 million dollar contract extension and now they they can turn their attention to safety Troy Polamalu and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, both of whom are going into their final year under contract.
The Steelers can approach both Polamalu and Timmons in different ways should they choose and I should start by saying it is not out of the question that both could get extended over the next month, but I see it more likely that they will choose to lock up one now and let the other one wear the franchise tag next offseason. My best guess is that Polamalu will be the next on the priority list to get done and Timmons would be the likeliest option to wear the 2012 franchise tag like Woodley did this season. This would buy the Steelers a full year to work out an extension with Timmons next year as both James Farrior and Larry Foote are likely playing their final season in the black and gold in 2011. That is not written in stone mind you, but it certainly makes sense with all of the younger linebackers now on the roster.
Polamalu said recently that he would like to retire a Steeler and I could see the Steelers locking him up for another 4-6 years before the 2011 season gets underway. Polamalu will likely get paid a per year average of around $12 to $13 million a season. Just a guess. The Steelers like I mentioned earlier in the post could choose to go the other way and extend Timmons now and let Polamalu wear the tag next offseason just the same. I think it is safe to say at least one of them will be extended though by week 1, but I am not ruling out the possibility that both could.
The Steelers also have another high profile player that is entering his final year under contract and that is wide receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace however is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in 2012 and the Steelers will likely not be in a rush to extend him right now as they can place the highest restricted tender on him next offseason to buy time getting a new deal done. The high tender would cost a team that would try to sign Wallace a first and third round draft pick in 2013 and that is an extremely high price to pay even for Wallace.