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.