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Steelers Offseason Priorities – What To Do With Woodley And Worilds


By Matthew Marczi

The Pittsburgh Steelers have their work cut out for them coming off consecutive non-winning seasons. It takes elbow grease to get from 8-8 to a contender, as everybody knows, of course, but this offseason, the issue is more complicated than simply improving, due to some uncommon circumstances.

One of the major priorities the front office will be looking to address during the offseason has to be resolving the tangled web that is the outside linebackers depth chart. Not necessarily who goes where, but rather who stays.

Jarvis Jones, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick from last season, is obviously a part of their immediate plans for the 2014 season. As of right now it doesn’t particularly matter whether or not he is penciled in as a starter for opening day. As a matter of fact, that depends largely on what happens during the offseason.

Once projected as an either/or scenario during various stretches of the regular season, the front office is actually facing an and/or question with regards to LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds, who accounted for most of the starts—and sacks—for Pittsburgh during the 2013 season.

They can afford to keep both, though it would take some contract shuffling, which has been par for the course for the last few seasons. The question is whether keeping both is in the best interests of the team.

Muddling the situation is, of course, the fact that releasing Woodley outright would actually cost the Steelers more against the salary cap for 2014 than it would to keep him on the roster.

On the other hand, making him a post-June cut would save about $8 million on this season’s cap, but not only will it add millions to the 2015 cap figure, it would do nothing to help the Steelers until June.

In other words, it wouldn’t help at all to re-sign Worilds. It would purely be a kitty to sign their draft picks, practice squad players, and leave money left over for an in-season emergency fund.

Now, Woodley, when healthy, was able to play at a high level this season. The problem is that he battled injuries nearly half the season. Worilds, while generally staying healthy the past two seasons, also has a long injury history, and missed the season finale this past year.

It would be in the Steelers’ best interests to have all three for 2014. Jones didn’t look like he was ready to be an impactful pass rusher, though he did finish off the season on a high note in most areas. Utilizing all three in special packages could be a good weapon that they rarely had the opportunity to exploit in 2013.

But letting Worilds walk would give the Steelers some leeway to do other things with their roster this year. Alternatively, letting Woodley go outright would save $14 million on the 2015 salary cap and would give them a jump-start in finally getting ahead of the spending curve as they prepare to withstand a new premium-level quarterback contract. These are tough decisions to be made, and I don’t think there’s one right answer.

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers Offseason Priorities – A Primer
Steelers Offseason Priorities – Finding An Offensive Line Coach

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • RW

    Cut Woodley.

  • 20Stoney

    This is a bad situation and I don’t pretend to know the answer, but let’s say they do cut Woodley… Worilds and Jones become your starters. Worilds get hurt, which judging by past history is fairly likely. Who are your linebackers then? It’s ugly! I think they almost have to find a way to keep all 3 for one more year, or somehow sign a servicable guy in free agency. They don’t have any depth on what is arguably the most important position in Lebeau’s defense.

  • Thomas Rancy

    Sign worlds, let woodley play out, u wont get anything out of cutting him. can we really afford not to have any depth at the position at all?

  • srdan

    Great point you make on the lack of depth. However, I don’t think the solution should be to have all three on the roster. But similar to you, I don’t pretend to have an answer unless his last name is Mack.

    I also think the argument “Woodley costs more to cut than have on the roster….” is not a valid one. This is going to be the case until his contract runs out. We either pay now, or later. The reality of it is he is not healthy, and we have no hope that he will ever be. I also think the article gives him more credit than deserved for his play in the first half of the year. Stats aside, his impact was minimal, and he didn’t make others around him better. When 93 hit the field, things started happening.

  • steeltown

    IF at all possible… re-sign Worilds and keep Woodley for ONE more year, the 2015 release/dead money charge is nearly half of what it would be this year.. and of course draft more OLB depth

  • steeltown

    I agree that OLB is basically the most important position on this defense, we need to draft OLB again. Saying Worilds has a long history of injury is a stretch, he missed two games his rookie season and four in 2011, but both yrs he was basically a special teams player. Since actually contributing and starting on Defense the last 2yrs he has been our healthiest LB (not named Timmons) I agree we need to try to keep all 3 for another year and then before ’15 season release Woodley when his dead money charge is greatly reduced

  • dgh57

    If Jarvis Jones had played in beast mode last season this would be a much easier decision to make. Unfortunately for everyone he didn’t and JJ is still learning his position and thus I see us keeping Woodley. Of course, this can change depending on what’s picked up in the draft or FA to replace him.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I think one of the major reasons Art Rooney hinted at waiting to address Ben’s contract is that they’re staring down the likely situation of keeping Woodley and Worilds for THIS year, then (unless he plays a Pro Bowl season in 2014), cutting Woodley in 2015. Obviously, OLB will be addressed in the upcoming draft, and this will be a HUGE offseason for Jones to grow and improve.

    Keep in mind, the Steelers may simply sit back and decide to cut whichever player (between Worilds and Woodley) comes up short in 2014. Much as fans are dismissing the possibility, what if Worilds disappoints next season…while LaMarr returns to his 2011 form? What then?

  • Ed Charles

    This is easy. Woodley, GONE after June 1st and Worilds tagged

  • 20Stoney

    Yes you’re right. I should have said that history has shown someone will be down injured, instead of focusing on Worilds. All 3 of them were out at some point this past season.

  • RW

    It’s highly likely they will keep Woodley, and maybe he will be effective, but he’s not worth his weight in gold (so many puns I don’t know what to do with myself). I truly do hope he plays at a high level this coming year, but the likelihood of that is slim barring some complete change in his work ethic. I think it’s because of his work ethic that he’s a bit of a drag in the locker room and a stain on team chemistry, and that’s why I’d cut him.

  • r4kolb

    Where is the Kevin Green, James Farrior FA LB now. That’s what we need. Someone like that to come in at a decent price and be a stud. O for the good ole days.

  • Jacob Dixon

    Cut woodley the steelers pay too much for a guy to sit on the bench for a whole game

  • Callentown

    Yeah but, which Steelers rookie linebacker has played in year one and been a beast? Same goes for drafting an OLB. He will almost certainly not be a BIG help in his rookie season.

    Just sayin’..

  • Callentown

    The argument from Marczi that if one of the two gets hurt, they will have no backup is really of no merit. How many teams have great backups for all of their positions.

    What if Ben gets hurt? What about Bell? Or Timmons?

    This team has serious cap issues with the most players in the league getting over $10Mil and cannot afford to keep all three.

    Doing so will only hamper much needed efforts in improving this team. Does anyone think this is a super bowl team next year? Really??

    Find a way to get Worilds in. Draft an OLB or two. Cut Woodley on June 1, and sign A FA player to soften the blow.

  • RW

    I think they could be a super bowl team next year. They’re missing one, maybe two, pieces on offense (TE, WR) and perhaps 3 (CB, S, ILB) on defense. They could come out firing next year and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  • RW

    Wesley Woodyard.

  • srdan

    By the good ole days, do you mean the days where we didn’t have a franchise QB?

    I sure as hell don’t miss those days.

  • Callentown

    Wow. Nothing personal RW, I’d love it if that scenario could happen. But there’s just more wrong with this team than you list.

    We will not have a true #1 CB next season and that means the defense will have to scheme to protect whomever they deem to be the #1.

    Safety is an issue, ILB is currently unsolved and besides TE issues, the team does not have a set of tackles on offense that they can count on at this point in time.

    I would be pleased with a 10 win season but can’t see much more for 2014.

  • Ike Evans

    I remember when the rooneys seemed so ruthless and just cut guys lol doesnt seem like the case anymore….hold on a lil longer nowadays

  • dgh57

    Well then let me put it this way. If JJ had played better to where we could be more sure of him being the starting ROLB the decision to cut Woodley post June 1 would be easier. How’s that? Then if a Khalil Mack were to fall to us (which I doubt happens) Woodley would be history because Mack would have time to learn and develop!

  • Callentown

    I guess my feeling dgh57 is that it’s rare for an OLB to even see the field in year one beyond a few plays. JJ, by comparison, did better than could be expected in terms of reality (vs hope and speculation by us fans) when you look at how much rookies have contributed in the past.

    That said, it was an odd year and even Williams posted good snap count at ILB.

    I think back to Troy and his first couple of seasons and we were all saying we wasted a pick to trade up for him at first.

    Mack won’t be there, but man . . . if he was, WOW.

  • RW

    A 10 win season is all they need. Outside of this year, the playoffs have been wildly unpredictable. I think we can get a #1 corner in the draft (even in round 2), as well as a #2 TE. I suspect we’ll keep Polamalu on next year and Thomas should be decent enough in the back end to help limit the explosive plays that killed us last year. The following draft would help us immensely:

    Round 1: Eric Ebron/Jace Amaro (TE)
    Round 2: Marcus Roberson (CB)
    Round 3 (Comp, Wallace): Dominique Easley (DE)
    Round 3 (Comp, Lewis): Seantrel Henderson (OT)
    Round 4: Donte Moncrief/Martavis Bryant (WR)

    Plus an offseason of signing:

    1. Wesley Woodyard (ILB)
    2. Dexter McCluster (PR/KR/RB/WR)

    Would free rounds 5-7 up for LB depth/CB or S depth and WR camp body.

  • Callentown

    Sounds like a nice plan you’ve laid out. Although I think we need D in rd 1, but the player may not be there.

    Still, those rookies will not play major roles and it’s rare for a CB to come in to any team and be the #1 unless things there are dire.

    Seems to me, if this team can have a good offseason, and get some good players in the draft and FA, they would use next season to prime for a 2015 run.

    This stuff just takes time. We still need offensive tackles, a starting DE, another RB, Safety and time.

    I’ll say this, if the Chiefs let McCluster go, I’ll buy you a steak dinner!! lol

  • srdan

    I really like the Dexter idea. Someone a hwile back posted that he could man 4 or 5 positions and he has experience with Haley. I think Woodyard would be a luxury. I am ok with our talent at ILB and am excited about the competition that is going to take place there.

    We need defensive help a lot more than offensive. I would love to see one of those TEs in Pittsburgh, but we don’t need them right away. We could draft a TE that would be ready in 1-2 years. I really want ot see the first two picks go on defense, maybe even both in the secondary.

    I also don’t see us getting two 3rd round comps.

    But with all that said, if our offseason went this way, I wouldn’t be disappointed .

  • steeltown

    It’s really going to be interesting to see what they do, I bet they’re wishing they didn’t restructure Woodley (again) back in ’12

  • Chad H

    I guess you must be in the locker room? By all accounts I hear of Woodley he has a great personality with humor and a bit of a prankster. Never heard anything of being a drag. Work ethic, only 1 complaint came out with no name tied to the complaint. 7 and 43 had 2 to 3 years of injuries both played 16 games this year and nobody is saying shit. Look at career stats 56 has them, Worilds has half of a season after he was moved from right to left and had the threat of not starting and losing his job to a rookie but then splitting time. None of us know what is going on in the locker room. One would think that 43 talked to 56 and said go see the guy that fixed my leg problems. If Woodley is back next year hopefully fixed of nagging injuries and has 16 sacks all the BS talk will be done. I too am frustrated with the injury bug of the Steelers but look around its not just 56. Good old half season of stats our savior Worilds has an injury history. What is the answer to this problem? I have no idea.

  • dgh57

    When the season started I thought JJ would break the mold of rookie OLBs not playing a lot because there was no more Harrison and Worilds was a unknown at the time. I wasn’t even sure if Worilds would last the whole season either through not playing good enough or because of injuries. Thankfully Worids proved me/us wrong as I don’t know where we would be if he hadn’t turned out to be good and worthy of being resigned.

  • David Edward

    While it seems many on here think it’s a difficult decision, I think it’s a fairly easy one. I’ve spelled out the details of how it would work, so I won’t do that with this post (although if anyone wants me to walk through them I shall in a follow up). Here’s how it goes in summary:
    1. After clearing up the necessary cap space (cutting Levi, restructuring AB, cutting or significantly reducing Ike, etc.) they will offer Worilds a market value contract (I’ve estmated it to be around 5/$40M).
    2. A market value contract for Worilds could still save nearly $6M in cap space over the course of 2014-16 vs. keeping Woodley’s current contract over those years.
    3. They will be getting a younger, and presumably better, player over the course of those 3 years for less. Essentially, they are trading a player on the rise for a player in decline.
    4. They will designate Woodley a June 1 cut, which will free up $8M in space (from his base). This will allow them to sign their draft picks (remember it’s in May this year), sign a few value-priced FAs (which is what they always do anyway), and work on a long-term deal for Heyward.

    Are there risks to this? Sure, there’s always risks in anything. So, it’s more about analyzing the risks and going with what gives the best chance to improve the team. I think it’s more likely Worilds is coming into his prime than Woodley is able to find it again. As for keeping both, they would be grossly overpaying for Woodley to be a backup or a placeholder for Jarvis. While OLB depth would be a concern, they’d be better served to use some of the post-June 1 space to sign a modest backup OLB (in addition to selecting a propect late in the draft). Keep in mind, this is a team with many significant needs on Defense.

    My biggest concern would be if Worilds plays hardball and holds out for an above-the-market contract (for which somebody may pay him).

  • RW

    I agree that Woodyard is more of a luxury, but he’s great against the run and I remember a lot of people said the same thing about Farrior before we brought him in. Of course you’re correct about not needing one of those TEs in our offense and about having bigger needs on defense. That being said, a TE like Ebron would open up the passing game a whole lot, and not just in the red zone. Given that the rules in this league now favor the offense, I think it would be smart to take a potential difference maker like Ebron. He’d be a matchup nightmare.

    Like you, I also think secondary is our biggest issue by far, but the only guy I really like this year in the first is Dennard. Plus there are some guys in this draft that can be had on day 2 or day 3 that will be difference makers in the secondary (Roberson, Alden Darby, Pierre Desir, etc.). Half of our defensive secondary next year will definitely be Polamalu and Cortez Allen, and I’m confident that with only one more piece they can be an above average secondary.

    All said, a TE or WR can step in right away and make a difference for this team. With time running out for Ben, I’d prefer to focus on getting the last piece or two for him to step in and take some pressure off of our other stars (AB, Heath, Bell).

    As for the two 3rd round comp picks, it wouldn’t surprise me not to get both, but Lewis and Wallace both had a great year. I just don’t see why the NFL wouldn’t consider them both worthy of 3rd round comps.

  • RW

    I agree that it does take time, but a TE or WR could step in right away and make a difference. I agree that any CB we take would likely be a #2, but that’s okay because I think Cortez could turn into a solid #1.

    I’ve read a lot of Chiefs sources that project that McCluster will be let go during the offseason. Won’t know for sure for a few months, but if they do and we are somehow able to sign him, I’ll be so happy that I won’t need a steak dinner.

  • Michael Pearce

    I say keep Woodley for one more season and see what he’s got before letting him go outright. It wont save us much money against the cap cutting him this year, and we will take a bit hit next year against the cap. We know in either case Woodley aint getting any younger and he is injury prone, so if we keep him and let Worilds go we better be ready to draft an OLB early in the draft.

  • David Edward

    It saves $8M to the 2014 cap if they cut him June 1.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Next year is a step in the rebuilding process. The Steelers aren’t going to the Super Bowl next year, so let’s clean up the Cap. I think if they go FA for anybody, it’s for a insurance policy at OLB… i.e. Parys Haralson or O’Brien Schofield. They would come IMO at $2M-$3M per… so, couple that with a $6M salary for Worilds and rookie Salary for Jones, you are almost at the same cost for JUST WOODLEY’S SALARY. You have a competent backup in case Worilds gets injured or Jones struggles a bit. It comes down to Woodley simply not worth the money. Is Worilds? Who knows? But they have to pay him based on this year’s play. Cut Troy’s salary or cut Troy. Release Ike and draft a corner. Bottom line- even that idiot Richard Shermann said it last night, we are only as good as our front seven. Sign Worilds and get an insurance policy.

  • David Edward

    It saves $8M to the 2014 cap (starting in June) if they designate him a June 1 cut.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    There is no way this team is a Super Bowl team. There offense is capable but not elite. The defense is so lacking play makers. Our drafts, if history is a barometer, won’t produce nearly the talent in ’14 we need, especially if the young guys hve to have PhDs to learn Lebeau’s schemes. Troy is on the wrong side of 30… they are unproven at the other safety, their corners have taken a step back since Lewis left. Allen will be fine but there is no depth there. Keisel doesn’t have much left, we don’t have a traditional nose tackle and Hood has underperformed. We need an inside backer, but who is it? Foote? Spence? Williams? And where is our leadership on defense. Our special teams are in flux… and Tomlin, as much as I like him, needs to get a grip on time management.

  • RW

    No it’s pure speculation on my part. But it doesn’t take a genius to interpret that he’s gained a ton of wait since those “historical” (i.e. 2 seasons) statistics, and it isn’t because he’s working terribly hard at the gym… Laziness is infectious. He may be a nice guy, but I’d rather have a had worker with a (supposed) injury history than a lazy one with a much more recent injury history.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I agree. The only thing I would add is its time to work free agency. Not our custom but with the cap situation, we need to get some free agents to plug some of the holes.

  • Bill S

    They can’t cut Woodley fast enough IMO. Hasn’t produced worth a damn for 3 years. Just take the hit now and they’ll have $14 million freed up for 2015. Steelers aren’t going to be appreciably better next season anyway. That’s been the problem with the front office all along — keep stringing overpriced veterans along year after year. At some point you have to cut bait and GET YOUNGER!

  • Jeff

    “Steelers aren’t going to be appreciably better next season anyway.”
    That’s tough to say right now. They finished 6-2 in their last 8 games and 8-4 in their last 12. I wouldn’t really be all that surprised if they bounced back in 2014.

  • Bill S

    Realy?? Just keep drinking the kool-aid… Steelers have been on a downward trend for the last two years. They’re still one of the oldest teams in the league, and old guys tend to get worse, not better each year. Seriously, the only guys who you can rationally expect to improve next year are their YOUNG guys. Woodley, Miller plus the entire starting secondary are probably going to be worse next year, not better.

  • steeltown

    Clark will be gone, Cortez and Shamarko should see extended action, add a couple draft picks at the defensive back position and that equates to a pretty young group outside of Troy and Ike Taylor.. If Keisel, Clark, Will Allen and Foote are all gone next year that instantly makes us NOT one of the oldest Teams in the League.

  • srdan

    He burnt that “one more season” bridge with me. lol

    But our current OLB situation would be better suited with your suggestion.

  • Reader783

    Is there an option to time travel and not sign Woodley to a huge contract after he missed multiple games with injury almost every year?

  • srdan

    I would suggest that you need to quit drinking the ESPN cool aid.

    Oldest team is a far stretch. Sure if they had Kiesel and Foote in the calculations, which makes it for an interesting story on ESPN. But between those two they had 9 starts. Look around, 3 other positions are in their twilight. One is cut this offseason with a suitable replacement, the other made the probowl, and then there is Ikel he fits your argument. But what team doesn’t have one ageing veteran in the secondary?

    Keep in mind that the steelers went 0-4 to start the year. Forget the injuries sustained vs the titans, jsut keep in mind that Mike Adams was our starting TE. We were missing our first two running backs and we just lost a “pro bowl” receiver to free agency.

    Now couple that with losing your signal callers on offense and defense.

    If all that again happens next year before the first 60 minutes of the regular season are on the books, I would agree with you that we will not improve.

    But you have to be out of your mind if you dont think having Bell and Heath in teh lineup would have made a tremendous difference the first four games. Decastro and Pouncey make up one of the better technician tandems in teh league with a runningback that excels at the zone scheme.

    I put my money on the black and gold to make the playoffs, and do some damage…

  • ATL96STEELER

    They could be a 10-6 or better team next year pending what they are able to get done on OFC…the DEF will take a couple of years to be a fast DEF again.

    To your point…I would move on from Woodley and Ike, and possibly Troy, but you can’t just bottom out in PIT…cutting Woodley after Jun 1 makes a lot of sense but only if they’re able to re-sign Worilds.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Make the moves to sign Worilds…go ahead and cut ties with Woodley after Jun 1…my thoughts…gained too much weight and now just doesn’t have the athleticism to play all the OLB responsibilities anymore, specifically coverage and tackling in space….probably better suited for a 4-3 DE now.

  • mike burnside

    Ok in one instant he says that cutting Woodley June 1 would save the team 8mil for this coming year, making the remaining bonus money dead money that would have to still be paid. I get that. But he says it will add millions onto the 2015 cap. But at the end, he says letting Woodley go would save 14mil on the 2015 cap. Dude, which one is it?

  • Douglas Andrews

    Some good players on your list. I hope it falls that way.

  • Jeff

    Winning 6 of their last 8 games really shouldn’t be clumped in with the “downward spiral” that this team was on…. If “drinking the Kool-Aid” is being optimistic about next season after a strong finish, then hell, pass me some more Kool-Aid….

  • srdan

    I’ll take mine on the rocks

  • Nolrog

    It’s true that making Woodley a post-June 1 cut wouldn’t help until June 1, but that doesn’t mean that is not helpful. This isn’t a move that would be designed to help this year, it is a move that would help get out of the cap hell in future years. And I disagree that it (cutting Woodley) wouldn’t help to resign Worilds. It wouldn’t free up any 2014 cap space to fit Worilds in, but not having Woodley creates future cap room for Worilds

  • Nolrog

    I think the offense is fine, but I agree with the defense. Though, I would add in a NT and DE to that list.

  • Nolrog

    Do you think both the Lewis and Wallace compensation picks will both be #3 though? The NFL office hates the Steelers, so it’s more likely that would work out to be a 4 and a 5.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Cutting Woodley outright (as in not a post-June 1st designation) would clear his $14M cap hit from 2015. A post-June 1st designation divides the cap hit between 2014 and 2015. If the decision to cut Woodley is made, then there’s a secondary decision that basically boils down to: when do you want to take that extra $8M cap hit? If you cut him with a post-June 1st designation, you get that $8M to work with in 2014, but then you have to absorb it in 2015.

    In other words, his cap hit in 2014 with an outright cut would be $14,170,000 but his cap hit in 2015 would be $0. His cap hit in 2014 with a post-June 1st cut would be $5,590,000, but his cap hit in 2014 would be $8,580,000.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The general speculation from people who know far more about the compensatory pick process than I do are banking on a 3rd and a 5th.

  • sean mcmartin

    Too bad this isn’t madden football, I’d replace them all except timmons.
    . Jarvis Jones..had no muscle when they drafted him. weak and small.might not be big enough next season to make any difference.
    Woodley already has bad calves and hamstrings and he is not a workout warrior.fat lazy
    Worilds might stay healthy to get paid and then go back to his old ways..
    I’d say the Steelers need LB’s badly. and not the ones they have.
    Timmons is worth keeping, the rest are average at best.
    for the middle , nobody stood out to be worth mentioning. If the best they can do is bring back old and slow foote..8-8 is where they will be again.
    hopefully the rooneys will fire Tomlin after they fail to make the playoffs again next season. and all you so called fans who hate and say have blind faith,,go drink the koolaid and keep your blinders on like good little sheeples.
    This team got shredded 52-10 by the patriots
    ….
    .too little cap room , no great coaches, poor drafting. Next year they might get lucky and find one guy in the draft who can help..but not enough to fix this titanic. especially if they use the lie of building through the draft , which we all have seen as meaning, Helping other teams win by not even trying to make an offer to decent FA’s that walk away after there first contract is up..
    It became clear after watching the playoffs yesterday,,Steelers are no longer good enough to be a top team.
    but they can win the AFC north..

  • DoctorNoah

    This may be silly but, if we keep Woodley this year, what do we pay in 2014 and 2015? And were we to cut him next year, what would his 2015 cap hit be? I’m just not sure the downside of keeping him, considering the cap hit of cutting him

  • Matthew Marczi

    Woodley’s cap hit for 2014 is $13,590,000 (it increases by $580,000 if he’s cut due to past restructures). If he plays through this year, then the Steelers will be facing the same question then as they are now. His cap hit for 2015 is currently $14,090,000. If the Steelers don’t touch his contract this year and they cut him outright, he’ll still have a cap hit of $8,580,000, but they’ll have the rest of that figure to work with, so they would save $5,510,000 on the 2015 cap.

  • Steve

    In the past year, when did Woodley play at a High Level? There are too many people making excuses for him and his poor play and work ethics. When you get paid a lot you should do a lot, and I don’t see All Pro material.

  • David Edward

    Here’s the best way I can put…

    – His cap hit for 2014 is $13.59M, $8M is base salary and $5.59M is his pro-rated bonus. His cap hit for 2015 is $14.09M ($8.5 base and the $5.59 bonus)
    – cut him prior to June 1 and all of his pro-rated bonus accelerates into ’14 and becomes “dead money” cap charge for a total of $14.17M, so cutting him prior to June would cost them an extra $506k to the cap for 2014.
    – if they cut him June 1, then the $8M base comes off the cap and all they are charged is the $5.59M pro-rated bonus for 2014. This would save them $8M in cap space starting June 2 for the remainder of 2014. However, they will be charged the rest of his bonus in 2015…which amounts to $8.58M. This would still be a $5.51M cap savings for 2015 ($8.58 vs. $14.09)
    – If they keep him for 2014, they will be charged the $13.59M, and then if they cut him after the 2015 season, the same math would apply as if they cuthim June 1 2014. The only additional savings would be if they waited to cut him June 1 2015. This would save them $8.5M in 2015 and $6.01M in 2016.

    Basically, it boils down to whether or not they think he’s worth the $8.5M base salary in 2014. If so, which seems foolish, then they’d hold onto him until at least June 2015 If not, which seems wise, then they will cut him June 1.

  • Steve

    The Steelers Defense is old, slow and very overpaid. Cut our losses and bring in new blood as the Ravens did. If we have good defensive coaches, make them prove it.

  • Steve

    Tomlin made many mistakes and the biggest was being on the field in the Ravens game. Hiring Bicknell then going away from his system. Time management, do I need to name more? We all make mistakes but his was worth $100,000.

  • alex

    So, we sign Worilds this year and the one year plan works out numbers wize, cause we’ll have experience, skill, and youth @ OLB for 2014…(including a 2014 OLB draft pic)

    then after 2014 we drop Woodley and sign Hayward, but its a year late, cause Hayward is gonna crush in 2014, just driving up his price…

    i get, it…were almost out of the woods with the cap…go Khan…

    GO STEELERS!

  • Steve

    Do you know how much this would cost the Steelers?

  • Chad H

    When they reported to training camp Butler said this was the best Woodley ever looked. So I think he must have worked hard in the off season. I think with 56 and 43 their injuries are more genetic than being lazy.

  • Steve

    Everyone has bad days and the Steelers were torched by the Pats. If you watched yesterday, the Pats were spanked pretty well. Brady their star couldn’t hit the side of a barn with many overthrows. Denver shut down NE running game and Belichick was not the Coach to pull it off. IMO Denver “Out Foxed” the Pats and had the better team that day.

  • Jake Milman

    What about moving Timmons outside, We still have Foote, Williams, and Spence is coming back..and then there’s a guy named Cj Mosley who might be there at 15..

  • David Edward

    I’ve seen it projected to be about $10.9M. I’m not a big fan of using the tags unless it’s for a guy you know would get that kind of average yearly salary (or more) on the open market. For Worilds, I estimate his market value to be about 5/$40M, so that’s $8M per year average. That alone should make them think twice about the tag. To take it further, though, his first year cap hit (on a 5 year deal) probably would only be around $5-6M in ’14…so that’s a big difference. If they’re worried about him being a bust (which I don’t think they are), then they shouldn’t offer him a big contract regardless…franchise tag or long-term.

  • Steve

    Does not sound very smart to give Worilds that much. He has not shown his worth.

  • onesurge6@yahoo.com

    Well when healthy Woodley is a beast but he stay getting hurt , That hurts the team so letting him go would be better over all.

  • steeltown

    I think they could get a deal done with Heyward this offseason, we’re only approx. $12MIL over the cap when its all said and done

  • Brandon James

    There have actually been reports of the exact opposite. Since his nagging injuries, they say that he has been a strain in the locker room.

  • Brandon James

    In the second half of the season we had the second best offense in the league, and had the 2nd best record down the stretch. With so many young emerging players….it’s tough not to see a playoff team next season.

  • Callentown

    Sure hope so!!

    Keep in mind, every year there are teams who peak near season’s end who don’t begin the following season like that. It’s the Defense that worries me most.

    I can see 10-6 and getting in, but a LOT would have to fall into place to go further than that IMO.

    Peace BJ

  • Chad H

    I haven’t heard a single report about this. Not saying there is or isn’t something out there. I understand fans are frustrated by the injuries but to attack someone’s character without any proof is bullshit. I would think Woodley is frustrated. He played at a high level and now has a nagging injury for 3 years. I hope he is upset and can figure out what to do about it but to say he is a bad seed in the locker room and attack his character is just low.

  • Brandon James

    Those teams also do not have a HOF Quarterback in Ben. That makes all the difference, because we can almost expect consistency from him. I agree there are a lot of teams like the texans, vikings, for example from last year, but I personally think the franchise has set up a perfect plan for next season.

  • Brandon James

    It was actually in a chat transcript I believe from the post-gazette. I am 100% it was reported, (Also, not saying it’s true, but the post-gazette are in the locker room on a daily basis) just have to go find it. Personally it makes a lot of sense, given his situation and the constant pressure because of his production and contract miles apart.

    And the “anonymous” of his lazy work ethic last season, and that came from the locker room. Signs do point that way

  • Callentown

    Would you please share the perfect plan for next season. I may not have heard about that. Thanks BJ..

  • r4kolb

    As opposed to having the franchise QB and still missing the playoffs 2 years in a row? Amazing what can happen when you have a coach that can get his players over achieve vs one who can’t.

  • srdan

    How quickly you forget the lows of those years.

  • Brandon James

    When you have the second best offensive output over the course of half a season, compared to how abysmal it was during the first half. They clearly have a new plan, and its working. I’m talking about small things like the no huddle, emergence of bell, more rookies seeing playing time.

  • Callentown

    Yeah but..

    You do realize the offense was forced to run various plays to cover for the O-line’s inability to protect the QB. Such as the extreme use of the outside WR screen pass (most in the NFL). Teams will adjust to that.

    And for all of that production, the run game did not take off even during that span. They found a groove for sure and I’m encouraged, but that does not make a Denver offense or a Super Bowl.

    What about the plan for the D?!?

  • David Edward

    You are correct, Joe Starkey has said Woodley is often abrasive and rude..sometimes downright a jerk..especially over the past 3 years. Also, his work ethic has been questioned by more than just one player in the locker room.

  • r4kolb

    As opposed to you who is blind to the current low we are in? Uh, no. Do you always have to try to fire me up Sir Daniel?

  • srdan

    haha, I actually enjoy arguing with you because you will admit if I make a good point. Contrary to what most posters think, I don’t think your views are racially motivated. You have a different idea of how you want this team to be run and you voice your opinion. I like that.

  • Brendon Glad

    Gotta cut bait on woodley and get back on track making up for all the borrowing peter to pay paul pn contracts that the steelers have done. Plus, woodley’s hamstring is just one big piece of scar tissue at this point. So he will keep breaking down forever, most likely.

  • r4kolb

    Now if I could just get YOU to admit when I make a good point!!!!!!

  • nicolaisim

    I really like Michael Sam, Mizzou in the 2nd round.

  • Brandon James

    Hahah come on Bill if you knew this team you would realize we are in a rebuilding phase after a decade of great play. It took 1 and a half seasons to do it. Im excited, and I will say with Ben having probably 3 Solid years of consisten HOF Play ahead of him they need to cut woodley so 2015 we can have the best possible team.

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