Steelers LB Larry Foote Thinks He Will Be Back In 2014

There’s a lot of speculation that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote will be a cap causality during the offseason, but during a Tuesday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan, the 33 year-old Michigan product said he thinks he will be back in 2014.

“I talked to my agent, they said they want me back, but they got to make sure everything lines up right,” said Foote.

Foote still has two years left on the three-year deal that he signed at the start of free agency last offseason and he’s scheduled to earn a $1.5 million base salary in 2014. He played all of 59 snaps last season because he tore his biceps in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans and like it or not, the Steelers defense never really fully adjusted to life without their defensive captain for the remainder of the season.

Foote being sidelined, however, did result in rookie sixth-round draft pick Vince Williams seeing extensive playing time, as the Florida State product played a total of 405 snaps. Williams never really looked fully comfortable with the defense until very late in the season, however, and had to come of the field quite a bit in sub package situations because of his inability to cover.

Depending on whether or not Sean Spence can fully recover from the horrible knee injury that he suffered during the preseason of his rookie year, the Steelers might be forced to draft yet another inside linebacker in May. Even if Spence can play in 2014, it will essentially be his rookie season, so having Foote around for one more year might be the only real choice that the Steelers have.

If Foote is to be released, you would think that the Steelers would make that move in early March in order to give the 12-year veteran a chance to latch on somewhere else if he decides that he wants to continue playing. If he’s on the roster come the first day of the new league year, there’s a good chance that his job will be safe for one more season.

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

    I never thought I’d say this but I think the defense really missed Foote this year and since it was a bicep injury and not a leg issue (god knows he can’t afford to get any slower) I’d say bring him back at the right price. Depth at all LB spots is an issue especially considering Spence is not a sure thing.

  • grw1960

    Foot is already under contract for the 2014 season and is scheduled to count $ 1,833,333 against the cap….His chances of coming back could be 60 – 40%

  • steeltown

    I’m torn on this, I would absolutely love to have Foote back for another year, even if he loses out to VW in training camp he would provide solid depth and leadership, but if we need the cap space Foote has to be one of the top candidates to be released after Levi Brown

  • Jason

    Thanks. I knew he was under contract but wasn’t sure of the specific figure.

  • still desi

    This is a no-brainer, the Steelers must release Foote this offseason and pick up the cap savings. In today’s game Foote is a 1-down LB, and he’s a mediocre run stopper, and I’m being generous when I say mediocre. Go back the last 3 years and look at Pro Football Focus ratings of LBs, you will see Foote’s name near the bottom every year. He is an extreme liability in pass coverage, just look at footage of him trying to cover Ray Rice the past 3 years.

    I think it’s great that Foote is well versed in Dick Lebeau’s swahili defense. If that’s the case, then make him an assistant coach. I don’t believe that our already depleted defense can afford to play with an extreme liability. We need to get younger and more athletic, and that is the exact opposite of what Foote brings. Make the difficult decision (not difficult in my mind at all) and show Foote the door.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Depth, experience…okay I can see that but not for nearly $2mil against the cap…but I’m really ready to usher in the future of the Steelers even if it means the record suffers a little.

    Foote knows where to be so he’s often in position to make negative plays, but if he’s by himself he’s going to struggle to close it out….help better be close by.

  • 20Stoney

    I really like Larry Foote, but I agree. If you take the emotion and like of the guy out of the equation, I think it’s a pretty easy decision.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Agree 100%.

  • Callentown

    Still seems unforgivable that the Steelers had no back-up plan for their defensive captain being out.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Unless Vince Williams takes a step forward (which I think he can) we definitely need Foote back. I’ve never been a fan of Larry but they would have to rework his contract to get him to fit.

    At his current price, that’s not going to work. I don’t think he has too many choices at this point in his career. The Redskins is probably the only place that would be willing since they just lost their mack. We could use Larry for one more year….but only at the right price.

  • James Kling

    ILB is the one position where we have the most questions. Do we retain Foote? See what Spence can do? Look for a guy in the draft? Hope that VW keeps improving? Roll with Garvin as backup, to possibly push VW?

    If I’m not mistaken, we’d save $1.5M in 2014 and 2015 by cutting Foote. ($666K pre-6/1, $333K prorated after).

    I’d be inclined to wait until June to monitor Spence’s progress, and I’d look at ILB in the middle of the draft, possibly Smallwood from UConn in R3 or Andrew Jackson from W. Kentucky R4.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Well, Foote would do two things for this team….

    1. Allow us to focus on other positions on our defense in this draft
    2. Give us an additional year to see if Williams, Garvin, and Spence can develop.

    If we can resign our D Line players and take care of the Worilds/Woodley situation, we can focus this draft on CBs and S on the defensive side of the ball.

  • dgh57

    We didn’t have much of a backup plan in place with regards the OL either going into last season.

  • srdan

    I think he is released and given every chance to come back and play with us. And that is the right approach.

  • David Edward

    I think Foote himself would tell you that Williams is quite capable of being the starting Buck again in ’14 and doing a good job. It’s more of a fan’s notion that they need to find an everydown Timmons-like ILB to play alongside Timmons. Quite frankly, next to Bell, Williams was the most impressive rookie this year. Sure he made his share of mistakes, but he was playing one of the hardest positions on the D..one in which it takes time and experience to “slow” the game down so that you can react quicker to your reads. I think Vince will be fine in the base 34 and his coverage skills will improve. It’s ok if he needs to come off in the sub packages. Spence was essentially drafted to be the sub package ILB anyway, so he’s the biggest wildcard here. Will he be able to play or not? If not, Garvin showed some promise in that role. If they draft anything at ILB, I look for it to be more that type of hybrid player.

    As for Foote, I think it’s quite possible that he could return since his base salary is not necessarily restrictive. However, they could save a tad bit of space if they ask him to take a paycut down to vet min. Another option, and this may be what they end up doing, is to cut him outright and wait till June to see how everything else in FA shakes out and then bring him back on a min. contract if they still feel they are lacking in depth.

  • SteelersDepot

    There is no way that Foote will take a pay cut.

  • westernsteel

    Foote is a great defensive captain, but his speed was frustrating the last season he played. This might be an opportunity for the Steelers to move on with a younger player and stick with Vince Williams.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I might be in the minority on this one. But if they draft a MLB in the draft anywhere before round 7, I’m going to hate the pick. They have Spence, Williams, Foote and Garvin. Who cares if one has to come off the field for another Id rather have a combination of Williams on run downs and Spence on pass downs than waste a pick that could be used on the secondary or d-line

  • David Edward

    Agree Lucus, that’s one of the reasons they have the sub packages…to get the best personnel in for specific matchups. I’d rather them use a high pick to address the secondary (which is the biggest need) or DE (which may be a big need). Good players at either of those positions are everydown players, even in the sub packages.

  • David Edward

    If so, that may mean he gets cut with the possibility of a return in June for the vet min. unless he can latch on elsewhere for more.

  • alex

    NT ? MLB? FS?

    man we need some answer up the gut on D!

  • pittsburghjoe

    I would hate to see some of garages owned by these posters….I bet they never get cleaned out. Time to say GOODBYE LARRY!

  • Patrick Reid

    Nix at NT.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I can’t see anyone else paying him more than the vet min.

  • walter mason

    Didnt he have over 100 tackles? I rate him better than mediocre but its time to move on.

  • alex

    yeah, he better be a stud, because he’ll only be a two down player…and i hope we get players on D that we dont have to completely retrain for an NFL position so we can play them now…

    all in all i like a stud #1 CB prospect with hands to step in and play every down early…

  • SteelersDepot

    Cutting Foote produces a $666,667 dead money hit. So signing him back at the vet minimum after cutting him really makes no sense. In fact, would make his final cap hit higher.

  • David Edward

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the vet min. is $940k. So, if you add the $667k dead money to that, his effective cap for 2014 would be about $1.6M…which is still less than his current $1.83M. So, it’s possible that they could cut him early to save $1.167M in space during the pre-June period when Woodley counts in full. Then, in June, if they want, they can bring him back when they have that extra space from Woodley available. Of course, they can move on from Foote completely if they are comfortable with their ILB depth at that point.