Steelers Place LB LaMarr Woodley On Injured Reserve; Sign LB Jamaal Westerman

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to place linebacker LaMarr Woodley on injured reserve after he suffered another calf injury early in the Sunday night win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Woodley, who had earlier in the season injured his left calf, suffered a right calf injury Sunday night while attempting to knock down a screen pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with 11:2 left in the first quarter. It was the Bengals second offensive play of the game.

Over the course of the last three seasons, Woodley has played in only 34 games. Last season, he was hampered not only by a hamstring injury, but an ankle injury as well. The former second-round draft pick trained in Arizona with safety Ryan Clark this past offseason and registered five sacks before hurting his left calf in the Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Woodley is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8 million in 2014 and is currently scheduled to count $13.59 million against the cap. Should the Steelers decide to release him and not designate him as a June 1st release, he will count $14.17 million against the 2014 cap.

Should, however, the Steelers designate him a June 1st release, they will have to carry his full $13.59 million cap hit until that date. At that time, they will save his $8 million base salary against the cap, but will incur a 2015 dead money charge of $8.58 million due to outstanding bonus proration still on the books.

Should the Steelers take that course of action with Woodley, they would obviously have to have soon-to-be unrestricted free agent linebacker Jason Worilds under contract or on the franchise tag. In addition, they would need to have extra cap space in order to accommodate the full cap hit of Woodley until June 1st rolls around.

To fill the roster spot, the team signed linebacker Jamaal Westerman, who was released by the Bills on December 10, 2013. Westerman was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2009 out of Rutgers and he has also spent time with the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts prior to his stint with the Bills.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Elijah Stevenson

    We can win without Woodley I think our defense proved it against Cincinnati.

  • Chris92021

    Good! About time!

  • Robert Truax

    The nfl passed the rookie salary cap to protect teams from big money busts, now they need to pass a lemon law as well to protect teams from injury prone players. If a player misses X number or X percentage of games over a 2 to 3 year span they can void the deal minus the guaranteed money. Kevin kolb, reggie bush, Mario Williams and numerous others.

  • steeltown

    J.Westerman was a pretty good college player, not really sure whats happened since then. I think he’s only started maybe 3games in his NFL career.

  • Fritz Baughman

    They proved it long before that game. Woodley was actually a weak link on our defense this year. I don’t give a damn what Pro Football Focus says, either. Our pass rush improved in the games he was out.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Do u know who’s the guy who replaced Woodley on Sunday because he was good.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Man if only plaxico was healthy with all that WR experience our record could a been a lot better if he was playing.

  • steeltown

    Who do you mean, Jarvis Jones

  • steeltown

    It’s official, 12 men on the IR

  • SteelerFanInMD

    The Steelers aren’t getting their money’s worth with Woodley being injured so often. Willie Colon also was injured a lot after signing a big contract and we all know what happened to him.

  • OIF3gunner

    Go back to wherever you came from.

  • Dustin L Snodgrass

    Worilds fills in for Woodley at LOLB…. Woodley moved to ROLB because of Worilds production at strong side. Jones is ROLB. I don’t know what’s going on with this guy but someone drafted that high with the amount of plays he’s been in this year as a pass rusher should have atleast 6 or 7 sacks on the season… he has 1 sack. I’m glad he’s finally catching on but damn.. get some sacks or move to ILB!!! I’d love to see Jones make a move when he is pass rushing, but he doesn’t. He tries to overpower the T every time instead of swimming, spinning, getting low and circling the guy… He’s not even trying anything else to get to the QB. Someone better teach that boy pass rushing skills asap. Got to realize it’s not college anymore he’s playing with grown men that don’t budge head on.

  • James Kling

    Getting ridiculous. He’s becoming the Ki-Jana Carter of Steelers OLBs.

  • srdan

    That is one huge positive in this mess of a contract. A lot of other teams have players under contract that don’t produce and can’t win without them.

  • steeltown

    In comparison look at guys like Jared Allen or even DeMarcus Ware.. look at their actual games played (GP) in each season for their careers, this is the first season that Ware has even missed a game and Allen hasn’t missed a game since he played with KC

  • srdan

    I highly disagree. You buy your house(all investments) on potential. If your neighborhood goes down the shoot, should hte bank or previous owner give you money back?

  • srdan

    You also probably notice Garvin.

  • srdan

    and when those two are playing they dominate. Nobody fears 56.

    Pouncey and him seem to be having similar careers. Flash in a pan. Call me cynical but they are not that good of players like the media talks about them. I’m not saying they are bad, but if they are your top guys on either side fo the ball skill wise, your team has a low ceiling.

  • Jollyrob68

    What are the ramifications of trading him?

  • mlc43

    Dude, the knock on JJ is that he has no bull rush move. He doesn’t try to overpower OTs very often. His other big knock was that he tries to cut inside of the OT too much. Oh, and the other knock was that he wasn’t standing up to the run very well, not holding the edge. So really, he’s been trying to run around too much. Just FYI.

  • mlc43

    If you could get someone to take him…nothing. The trick would be to find someone who wants that salary for so little return.

  • NW86

    A ridiculous post on many levels.

  • srdan

    Plus, usually unfulfilled contracts are only due to injury, or a messy situation(scheme). Its seldom (outside of QBs, matt flynn, derek andersen…) that players get huge contracts and under perform. And how can you blame someone wanting to get paid and then getting an injury that will affect tehm down the road in life? Things are bigger than foodball (sometimes, hhahaha)

  • NW86

    They would then be free of his salary, but have to account for the dead money they’ve already paid him. The same is if they cut him.

  • srdan

    That a team would have to be optimositc enough that he would perform to his contract because they are taking it on then. Basically the ramifications are that the steelers would be making out like a fat rat. Nobody would go for it for the same reasons that we are discussing getting rid of him. Of course if he negotiated with another team(or the steelers) a lower contract then it could happen, but why would he?

  • mlc43

    I thought we would only be responsible for a prorated bonus.

  • John A Stewart

    WHAT HAPPENED TOO ALAN BAXTER HE WAS DOMINATING IN THE PRESEASON.THEY NEED TO CALL HIM BACK INSTEAD OF ANOTHER NFL TEAM REJECT.

  • Mike Amaro

    On items I invest alot of money in I buy insurance or warranties no sense in paying for something that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. I think Roberts on to something.

  • J. Hernandez

    Im in with Stewart. What happened to A. Baxter

  • 20Stoney

    Nobody in their right mind is going to take on that contract.

  • 20Stoney

    The Baxter thing has been puzzling to say the least.

  • HopalongCassidy

    I’d make Woodley a June 1st cut and move on. Save money in the long run and save a roster spot for someone who might stay healthy. That’s just my opinion. Others may vary.

  • Intropy

    That’s already how it works on all but a few contracts. The team can cancel the remainder of a contract and only be on the hook for the guaranteed money. Well, between seasons anyway.

  • mlc43

    It’s going to be interesting this off season. May see a lot of the old guard gone. It is time, though. I would love to see the OL get fixed up and stay moderately healthy. We’ve got the potential for a potent offense and Bell deserves to have a line that opens up some holes.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Find it funny that the injuries didn’t happen until after he got paid. Not hating, just stating. I’m not a Woodley hater as many has been but we may really consider him taking a paycut or cut our losses. I was not for the big contract since Harrison made him look much better.

    He’s a good player when healthy but he’s getting great player type money. If we can get JJ up to speed, well strength next year, I think he can fill that position easily. Maybe we should consider a trade for draft picks. The Tater Skins could sure use him…..especially if we can get him off the books.

  • srdan

    yeah you beat me to it. After I thought about it, these contracts already exist. I know they mentioned that Luis Delmas has one. It’s a little different from what these posters are proposing. You dont give money back, you just dont get the incentives. And the incentives can be games played, stats pro bowls, or whatever.

    But its a moot point. Players of caliber simply don’t have to sign those contracts. When 56 signed his, there would have been another 31 teams that wouldnt expect him to sign such an incentivized contract. If the Steelers release him, the only market that he may have is such a contract.

    But be careful going through life thinking that things that you have warranties and insurance on are investments. Some people would argue that your first home is not one either.

  • Robert Truax

    Your example works that way, but what about a car. Two months after purchase it keeps breaking down its considered a lemon. Most if not all places you can return it for refund.

  • srdan

    I would agree with you, but if 93 is not back, and you cut 56, there is nothing else……literally nothing.

  • srdan

    Can you name some of these items?

  • srdan

    Thats a farce. You can’t return cars, I would be astonished if someone follows up my post with a story of this actually going through.

    And if a player signed a contract and the next day he played baskteball and tore his knee into shreds, I wouldnt be surprised that the team would take him to court. I doubt that they would win, but deep pockets rule.

  • Michael Pearce

    Woodley has seen his better days. Signing Worilds should be the number one priority(even if he is franchised). A long term contract could be worked out after releasing Woodley after June 1st. Last year we made the same mistake by not signing Keenan Lewis and letting Ike Taylor go. We cant keep letting our best young players go and keep the aging, prone to injury, veterans.

  • srdan

    Yeah, hopefully they learned from that blunder.

  • MC

    By pass rush I assume you mean Jason Worilds!

  • srdan

    I read today that the steelers top 6 players make 67% of the total cap. That is tops in the league. Can SD research this? Kind of a high number considering BB makes less than most franchise QBs.

    7, 56, 24, 94, 43, 83 in that order. hmmm

    I would think that the top 3 players are in teh right order, QB, pass rusher and corner. But we don’t get the production from the secnd highest salary. And t be honest he had 5 sacks for the first 10 or so games and we were calling it a resurgence. But it wasn’t felt on the field.

  • Game_Time

    According to all the off-season hoopla about him working out with R. Clark, Woodley was said to be entering this season in great condition and as healthy as he has been in years yet he’s still unable to make it through a full season…….That’s 3 years in a row….. If he is not willing to renegotiate a more team friendly contract with incentives that would earn him more money based on his performance and actual number of games played then It’s time to cut ties, designate him for June 1st release, save the 8 mil in salary, eat the dead monies and move on

  • srdan

    I wouldnt downplay Cam. He is a big reason we keep mentioning 93, hood, woods… I really think that he makes others around him better. I said it once and will go out on a limb again. He is playing as well as Aaron smith did….now he has to do it for a long time.

  • 2443scott

    dont steelers have a lber on practice squad they could brought up …seems no matter what they do with him its costing same amount money so guess either trade him or keep him as a back up because he cant play a whole season with out getting hurt guess to keep jason some high priced guy got to go to beable to pay him

  • Nathan Shrift

    I think Woodley is done as a Steeler and the Steelers will find a way to sign Worilds. Cutting Levi Brown saves $6 million. Ike will probably take a paycut or be a cap casualty.

  • MC

    Oh i never do bro, i think many on here are sick of me wit how much i praise Hewyard haha and youre Exactly right. I believe Cam and Jason are the defensive mvps this year. We haven’t see this much pass rush from a DE I’m years! Cam is my boy I’m certain he is going to be consistent for many years in this defense. I remember seeing tears down his face when we drafted him and I just had a good feeling about him since then.

  • srdan

    I should have just typed that.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yup. No hard feelings, and thanks for the memories, but everyone should now realize that James Harrison really got Woodley that big pay day. When James was going crazy on the other side, scaring the crap out of QB’s, they would practically run into the waiting arms of Woodley. No more James, no scary Woodley.

  • 20Stoney

    LOL

  • Elijah Stevenson

    And Cameron Hayward

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    They also have to learn from the blunder that was Woodley’s contract. I like Worilds. I understand there is no one one else to play the position on the roster, but Worilds should not get anything close to franchise tag money. Don’t forget a month in to the season he was benched for Jarvis Jones. He has played himself in to a better payday, but he needs to be paid appropriately and not more than that.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I think #57

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I think the only reason jj got that one sack was just because a RB was blocking which was easy for him. I didn’t believe he was going to be the guy to replace Harrison because he’s as small as Ryan Clark. If he’s supposed to b the guy this off-season he needs to lift weights and gain about 20-30 pounds then he’ll be big enough to pass rush those OL and get 7/8 sacks. Till then he’ll just keep getting mishandled every time.

  • gene mann

    I have to thinkthat Woodley is going to be asked to have his salary Reduced or become a June 1st cut. It would be very nice if the steelers could find a trade partner for him life be wonderful.

  • gene mann

    We might have a very good OL if Beachum continues to improve and Foster continues to be solid. I still like to see Adams at RT. DD has really be very solid and continues to be a future stud

  • Michael Pearce

    Aint no one going to trade for Woodley with that big salary cap hit. They will wait for his release. If we keep Woodley over Worilds this year like we kept Ike over Keenan last year we need to think about replacing the decision makers, who are giving away our future for old broken down vets.

  • Venkar

    There is zero probability that we release Woodley. If we release him pre June 1, the cap hit is similar to his 2014 salary + bonus. Post June 1, the cap hit in 2014+2015 is greater than his 2014 salary + bonus. Why mortgage the 2015 cap unless we think we can get over the hump in 2014 without Woodley and with 8mm in extra cap space.

  • cencalsteeler

    I think a simple fix would be to have a base salary with bonuses paid on performance.

  • Intropy

    If they cut Woodley they wouldn’t owe him any more money after the season. That’s pretty typical for a veteran’s contract. What am I missing?

  • Shelob9

    I disagree, a player does the damage to his body that it takes to be a star in College and then comes to the NFL and suffers an injury or injuries that disable him from doing the job he spent his whole life training for! he should get to keep the money. It’s not like the social security administration is writing him a 30 million dollar check, it’s the team he got hurt playing for.

    Draft picks are risks with great potential for reward. That’s part of the game. If they didn’t want to take the risk they could trade their top draft picks away, but they don’t because it’s worth it,

  • Shelob9

    Only way we trade him is going to be the same time of deal like we traded for Levi Brown, which would keep us on the hook for most of his salary. No team is going to pay him $14 million, when if they refuse the trade they can get get him for the veteran minimum after we cut him.

  • Shelob9

    That presumes that the Steelers can keep about $25 million tied up on one position, assuming a franchise tag of around ten on Worldis, until after June 1st. What are they going to do, promise Sanders or Cotchery or Hood if they don’t sign elsewhere they’ll get a nice deal in June?

  • Robert Truax

    NY state’s used car lemon law states “If the dealer is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of
    attempts, you are entitled to a full refund of the purchase price.”

  • srdan

    Take this wiht a grain of salt, but from what i understand he would cost us as much against the cap next year vs the cap whether he plays or not. But for hte life of the contract he would cost 5 mil more for playing next year.

  • srdan

    I agree. But the issue is that it’s simple economics, supply and demand. Say the steelers put a deal on the table for Worldis this year with an average base salary and incentivize him with bonuses for games played and sacks. There is always a team that will give him the same base and give him the same bonus the steelers would offer but with no incentive clauses. The demand is too great for him for him to have to settle for such clauses. Woodley had the same market when he signed his deal.

  • srdan

    Great points.

  • srdan

    If the cost of keeping 93 are those three players, I could justify it.

  • srdan

    I am aware of the lemon law, I jsut have never heard of it being enacted.

  • alex

    contracts of contracts…with injury history, clark, troy, name your poison, this becomes the worst of worsts…

  • Intropy

    Some contracts have guaranteed provisions over the years, in particular low round rookie contracts do. But veteran contracts typically do not. Instead that’s all put into the signing bonus. There are rules about part of a salary not counting or the cheapest players on a team not counting, but in general it’s easiest to think of a big contract as everything the player gets paid will count against the cap some time but only once.

    Consider a made up contract that is 10 million signing bonus plus 5 million per year for four years.

    For the player it happens exactly like that. He gets 10 million right away. Then he gets five million per year as he plays.

    For the salary part all counts against the season it is earned. That’s easy. But the bonus, despite being paid all at once is split up for the purposes of the cap. So divide 10 by 4 for 2.5 million per season. The players cap hit is a total of 7.5 million each season.

    But what if they cut him after season 2? Well the salary is easy they don’t owe him that money in years 3 and 4 because he’s not playing. And the signing bonus he’s already been paid in full. They don’t have to give him any more money there. But only 5 million has been charged to the cap. 2.5 in year 1 and 2.5 in year 2. They still have to charge the other 5 million against the cap. The league rules state that the entire amount must be charged next season (or you can spread it over the next two season if the cut happened after a particular date in summer). But notice that the total cap charge for the bonus didn’t change it just went from 2.5 + 2.5 + 2.5 + 2.5 = 10 to 2.5 + 2.5 + 5 = 10. That five million you’re being charged for a player no longer on the roster is what is called dead money.

    These outlandishly high cap figures you see are usually the results of one of two things. Either the contract was strucutred with a dramacially escalating salary, like 5, 10, 15, 20 million for years 1 – 4. Or the team keeps restructuring contracts by turning salary into bonus. Consider that 10 bonus 5 per year example again. What if instead of cutting they turn four million dollars of year 3 into a signing bonus. Obviously years 1 and 2 are unaffected since they’re in the past. For the player he gets that four million now (instead of being paid per month over the season in this case). But the salary cap hit for season 3 goes from 7.5 (2.5 for a portion of the original bonus plus 5 for the salary) to 5.5 (2.5 for a portion of the original bonus plus 2 for this year’s portion of the 4 you just turned into a bonus plus 1 million for the salary you didn’t convert). Next season you still have the 5 million salary and the 2.5 on the original bonus, but you also have the 2 you didn’t pay last year from the conversion for a total of 9.5. You went from 7.5 + 7.5 to 5.5 + 9.5.

    The money’s all coming off the cap, you just get to play games with when. And what if you cut him after season 3? You still just save that salary. He’ll cost 4.5 in dead money. The 2.5 plus the 2.

  • srdan

    Great explanation, thanks! I think I now better understand.

    So they will have to count the remainder of his bonus against the cap next year if he is cut, but its already been paid. right?

  • Intropy

    That’s right. Woodley has several more years on his contract, and that contract had a big signing bonus, and they’re restructured by turning salary into bonus. So if he’s cut right after the season ends then the portion of the bonus in all those future seasons is added together and put onto next season. That’s why there’s such a big hit for cutting him.

    But remember it’s all league bookkeeping. He’s already been paid that money, and he’s paid his taxes on it and spent some of it. And all that money is going to count against the cap some time. WIth the cut it’s summed up and put into next year, but all those future seasons no longer have any share of the bonus on them. The total is the same, the when is different.