Now That Worilds Has Accepted His Transition Tag, Woodley Watch Takes Center Stage

Now that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds has reportedly accepted his $9.754 million transition tag, the next step is to get a long-term deal hammered out with him that should greatly reduce his 2014 salary cap charge. Now that it’s virtually guaranteed that the former second-round draft will be in Pittsburgh for at least one more season, our attention will turn to fellow linebacker LaMarr Woodley and his status.

Woodley is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8 million in 2014 and carries a salary cap charge of $13.59 million. While they could release him outright without any post June 1 designation, doing so would not clear any cap space in 2014 and in fact, it would cost the Steelers an additional $580,000 in cap space by going that route. The only benefit achieved by going that route would be that there would be no dead money on the books in 2015.

The other route the Steelers can take with Woodley, if they do indeed decide to release him, is for them to designate him a post June1 release. Doing so would eventually clear $8 million in salary cap space come June, but would result in the team incurring an $8.58 million dead money charge in 2015.

The team could of course ask Woodley to drop his 2014 salary or turn a lot of his base into a not likely to be earned incentive, but you really have to wonder if he would be willing to do that to avoid being released. With Worilds and Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo both now off the free agent market, Woodley would be the top, yet unhealthy, dog on the free agent market as far as the outside linebacker position goes should he be released. While he likely would have a hard time finding a team willing to pay him $8 million for one season, there might be a team willing to pay him $4-$5 million to show he can stay healthy and produce.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said a few weeks ago that they could keep both Woodley and Worilds this season if they wanted to. He did, however, also say that Woodley’s injury history is of some concern being as the linebacker has missed 14 games due to various injuries since 2011.

Unless Colbert has another surprise up his sleeve, I think the general consensus at this point is that Woodley will be released at some point and that he will be designated a post June 1 release when and if that happens. Of course none of envisioned Worilds receiving the transition tag from Colbert, either.

Woodley watch is on.

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

    Lacanfora reported that the steelers and worilds are making progress on a long term deal and that it is the goal of both parties now.

  • SteelersDepot
  • Jollyrob68

    Post June 1 Woodley gives Steelers money in the summer to sign draft picks & do extensions.

  • dkoy85

    If Woodley is traded, would the team receiving him be stuck with the $13.59 million cap charge? I’m just curious is there’s any potential trade value.

  • NW86

    I like the idea of keeping him for one “prove it” year, by turning some of his salary into incentives. For example, reduce his salary by $3M, but offer him up to $1M each in incentives based on playing time, sacks, and a pro-bowl selection. That frees up a little 2014 cap space (if he earns all the incentives, they’ll be charged against 2015, but it will be worth it if he had a great year). And I think Woodley would take it because it’s probably better than he would do on the market if released.

  • NW86

    No, they would only be stuck with the $8M salary. The rest of it is money that the Steelers already paid him, so it still counts against their cap as dead money.

  • steeltown

    Yep.. not happening

  • SteelersDepot

    No, they would be stuck with the remaining base salaries on his contract and they are 8M (2014), 8.5M (2015) and 9M (2016). In addition, trading him accelerates prorated signing bonus instantly in the form of dead money for the steelers.

  • Iron Cadet

    Yup I didn’t read that one

  • steeltown

    A reduced salary with incentives would be nice.. but I don’t see it

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I think Woodley will be on the team in 2014 and will be released after this season.

  • Iron Cadet

    What makes you think that?

  • RedCarpetDefense

    If teams picking ahead of us don’t value the OLB position highly as do the Steelers and Khalil Mack takes a tumble into our laps would
    -the Steelers draft him over another player they may have had their eyes on
    -if drafted do the Steelers roll the dice w/ Worilds, Jarvis and Mack cutting Woodley?

  • srdan

    draft picks get signed way before june 1st.

  • srdan

    This would be best case scenario. But unlikely IMO.

  • srdan

    I think Woodley is not a steeler on June 2nd.

  • steeltown

    That would be insane… in a good way

  • phawks89

    is it possible to trade Woodley? we currently dont have a third round draft pick im sure Woodley is worth at least that much or will no team touch his current contract?

  • cencalsteeler

    Regardless what happens with Woodley, it’s a win-win for the Steelers. Either we save some money, or we get Woodley with something to play for now. Sorry Lamar, but competition is a good thing. It’s time to dust off your motivation cleats and get to work.
    Side note: Just wanted to give props to Colbert and co. They seem to always be the targets of bashing and I think they need to be recognized here for what they have done so far this off season.

  • Pete Johnson

    Woodley is owed 3/25.5 in base salary not a penny of which is guaranteed. There is NO chance he is taking a pay cut. Zero. He is 29 years old and as noted the top 3-4 OLB on the market when he gets there. He is just waiting for the Steelers to send him packing so he can get even more guaranteed money and salary somewhere else.

    Anyone who thinks he won’t command at least a decent next deal clearly has no grasp of the market for pass rushers this year. There are no good ones available, and a bunch of teams who need them. What an unmitigated disaster on various levels, from the 14m in dead money we are going to have to eat to having Worilds sign the tag about 5 seconds after we put it on him. Woodley is still an extremely productive/possible elite player per snap and he will have plenty of suitors.

    And he won’t be signing some BS one yr deal I can tell you that much. This will be his last payday, there isn’t any “repairing of value” at 29 years old in the NFL. He has one last shot and he is going to take it for the most money possible, and that won’t be a 1 yr deal.

  • treeher

    Considering the money situation, I’d negotiate a pay cut with incentives and try to keep him at least one more year. He saw what happened to Harrison who ended up with Cleveland for less money that Steelers offered … I think he will deal.

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    Even if Woodley is gone we don’t have any good depth. They need to draft another OLB at some point

  • Pete Johnson

    No team is taking on 3/25.5 in base salary alone for Woodley, much less paying us to do so. Not happening.

  • steeltown

    Woodley very well could still be a productive player, when healthy… and therein lies the problem. This is a business and more so a what have you done for me lately business. You cant be the highest paid defensive player in Team history and not produce.

    There’s a chance that Woodley will still be on roster this season, but even if, most likely he’ll be released next offseason when the dead money hit is far less… would that be less of a disaster for you?

  • srdan

    Assuming that he takes a paycut (highly doubtful), what role would he have on this team. 93 made it clear if he comes back he is the starter. He is getting paid starter money and has earned it by growing up in the system and performing well when put into the starting line up. On the other side you have a 2nd year 1st rd pick coming off 10 starts.

    I don’t see the need for someone of woodleys caliber (and salaray) on teh bench waiting for an injury to get PT. He is not playing on the left anymore, so do you want him stunting Jarvis’ growth, who came into the nfl as an older rookie?

    Unless the answer is a base package with 3OLBs, I dont see woodley on this team next year

  • Pete Johnson

    They can’t afford to keep Woodley at his current salary, and he isn’t taking a pay cut. The chance he is on the roster this year is almost zero.

  • treeher

    I want to put the two best OLBs we have on the field, and I want to have a quality guy ready to step in at any time. If JJ can’t beat out Woodley or Worilds, so be it. Wood is hugely expensive to just walk away from him. From a business perspective, it makes sense to go the pay cut route, and I’m betting that Wood sees it that way too with Harrison’s situation still fresh in his memory. If he won’t take the pay cut, then he is a post June 1 cut and my bet is that he signs somewhere for less money.

  • steeltown

    A lot of moves still yet to be made

  • Ahmad

    I would value Woodley right at that $4-5 million mark only because when healthy he’s very productive. Problem is he can’t stay healthy so no way you pay him $8 million and I doubt any other team will either. So either he takes a $3-4 million pay cut or he’s gone.

  • Melly

    no they don’t. they usually get signed in june and early july.

  • srdan

    youre reight, i just checked. Jarvis got his deal on june 3rd

  • Tom

    I would be willing to bet that Woodley has already played his last down in a Steeler uniform.

  • John

    If I recall, Worilds requested not only money but confirmation that he would start. Thus it appears something like that must have been said. Any chance Woodley moves to the other side and requires Jones to learn for another year? If not, we need to pick up a free agent OLB to play if either Jones or Worilds gets hurt or plays poorly.

  • joed32

    That would be ideal with Worilds and Woodley starting and running Jones in a rotation to keep everyone fresh. Jones would also play as an inside pass rusher in obvious passing situations as he did last year. The question is whether or not it’s financially feasible.

  • DoctorNoah

    How about we move Jarvis Jones inside? He’s quick, a ball hawk, and too damned small to be a pass-rushing 3-4 OLB in the mold of Woodley or Harrison (or Porter, or Lloyd, or Greene, or whomever has filled that role for the Steelers for 20 years). Keep both Woodley and Worilds. Yes, I know it’s not an easy transition, but, I dunno. Grasping at straws here.

  • RMSteeler

    If somehow they keep Woodley, they’d almost have to keep 3 the OLB’s in a Hybrid/Sub package as much as possible, unless Jarvis can’t produce. If all stay healthy, that’s no necessarily a bad thing. QB’s would have to account for the odd man, and Lebeau can play games with stunts or overload rushes from unknown areas. Could improve both pass rush and run support. Lebeau needs a new scheme. Too predictable the last two years. Not his fault necessarily; due to bad injury years. Better to have one of the extra LB’s close to the line than Troy.

  • John

    Given the increase in the cap, they should have the money to keep all three. It is simply a question of whether they will. I have no present faith in Jones as a quality starter this year so we are in trouble if we are losing Woodley this year. Creative options would seem much better.

  • PA2AK

    lol…i’m sorry but it cracks me up when you respond with the ‘i don’t have time for this shIt’ attitude when you have to repeat something you’ve put together just recently. I’ve been on the receiving end of one too I think.

  • PA2AK

    I’ll be glad to see him go. Not particularly fond of his attitude…let alone the fact that he’s injured every time he puts on his socks in the morning.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I do not understand the letting Woodley go theory. Who is going to produce in his spot? Jones improved some but still isnt where he needs to be and Carter is a train wreck heading at a nuclear facility. After this coming year I could see it as Jones will have another year under his belt but I do not think we can afford to let Woods go at this moment. Am I the only one who thinks this?

  • RyanW

    Probably closer to July now that the draft is pushed back

  • James Brown

    Perhaps Sean Spence is in the mix. I sure hope so.

  • srdan

    I get that argument as well.

  • treeher

    Of course that’s possible but I don’t see how you can be so certain at this point. If he won’t accept a pay cut – which is merited based on his past two years – then he is a post June 1 cut. I think the team will try to swing a deal with him based on what they think his market value will be, and that won’t be close to what he’s got now.

  • alex

    so, if they trade him, they still pay his base til 2016…thats insane!

    but, if he gets cut and signs with another team, then the new team is the new paycheck, but we split the 2014 hit over the next 2 years like ‘steeltown’ has said?

    such a rock and a hard place with this contract…

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    they need depth at OLB even if Jarvis works out they will still need someone behind Jarvis and Woirlds. Woodley has a pretty big dead money hit for next season. I think they would rather have that hit in 2015 when the cap hit is lower and the cap itself is even higher.