Lawrence Timmons Helping Drive Late Defensive Run

Though he may not quite be long in the tooth in terms of age when it comes to the linebacker position, Pittsburgh Steelers 10th-year veteran Lawrence Timmons, at the age of 30, certainly has a lot of NFL tread on his tires.

He has played in more consecutive games than any other active linebacker—somewhere around 120—with Sunday being his 100th consecutive start. He is closing in on 1000 tackles for his career, and his splash play numbers are more than respectable, with 35.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, and 13 forced fumbles.

At the start of the season, the majority of the fan base, it would seem, was all set to move on from Timmons following this season—perhaps even prior to the start of the season. He was old, he was slow, and it was over. Except that it wasn’t.

He did get off to a bit of a slow start, though that has been nothing new. Over the span of the last several games, however, he has been arguably the Steelers’ best defender, putting up the numbers to show it, and Sunday was no different, as he recorded 10 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.

It was Timmons who on the Ravens’ opening drive, after the Steelers kicked the ball out of bounds on the kickoff, made the tackle in coverage on Steve Smith for two yards on a crossing route on third and six to get the defense off the field after yielding just 20 yards to their own 40.

The former first-round draft pick also had a run stop on Terrance West late in the first quarter for his second tackle of the game, and helped ruin that drive at the end of it by registering a sack on Joe Flacco on second and 11 for a 10-yard loss, a drive that ended in a botched field goal attempt from the 27.

On the final drive of the first half, Timmons was able to strip the ball from Kenneth Dixon’s grasp after a two-yard gain on third and four, but the back fumbled forward and was able to recover his own fumble for a first down. So the linebacker came back to make the tackle after a four-yard gain on a passing play on the next snap.

The veteran registered several more tackles over the remaining span of time in the game, including three on what could have ultimately been the Ravens’ game-winning drive had they not managed to come back into it. He and the old man, James Harrison, who had 11 tackles, set the tone for the Steelers’ increasingly young defense.

On the season, Timmons has recorded 108 tackles, two and a half sacks, and has intercepted two passes—one of them in the red zone—in addition to a forced fumble. Those are some quality numbers that have become routine for him over the years. He’s still got some tread on those tires. It will be interesting to see how free agency plays out for him. Even Vince Williams joked that Timmons is going to keep him a backup forever.

About the Author

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

    Matthew, do you think it is more likely that he gets resigned now? If so, what do you think the contract would look like?

  • The Chin

    His price tag was the issue. Still is. As solid as he is, the numbers don’t equate. You conveniently left that part out.

  • capehouse

    I was really hoping an extension was worked out with Timmons before the start of the season, because I’m not a fan of Vince Williams as a full-time starter on this defense, so I hope we can work something out with him during this off-season instead. Lawdog should retire as a Steeler and he looks like he’s got a few years left.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Gotta say I was wrong about Timmons. I like the way Coach Buts is using him now. Not asking him to run down the field with TE’s and WR’s like earlier this season. Timmons looks rejuvenated on that Defense now. Wonder what his price tag will be for next year?

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Got to agree with you MM.. He’s the team’s best defender right now.

  • CP72

    Over Shazier and Tuitt? Boy have tough convincing me of that.

  • CP72

    Don’t forget close to 7 million of that is prorated money. Steelers borrowed against his contract….not Timmons fault.

  • The Chin

    Where the money came from matters not. The bottom line is what it is. And I’m a huge Timmons fan but the reality is he’s not at a level on par with his price tag this season and I can’t blame him one bit for declining a restructure again.

  • CP72

    So you’d cut Timmons to save 8 million? I would not.

  • nutty32

    Setting the tone with big hits in each of the last few games. Waiting on Deebo to turn up his stuff once the playoffs start!

  • Kevin artis

    Shazier is exciting when he makes the tackle. He shoots the gap but have been missing the target lately. Tuitt has been steady but I believe Timmons edges them out just barely. His two interceptions, the game when he was rushing the passer (Browns I believe) has lighted a fire under him. Hopefully we get an extension done with him for another two years.

  • RickM

    Agree. If it’s necessary to hold pro-rated money against anyone, it’s the FO. They benefitted previously and now have to take the equivalent hit.

  • dany

    man I thought the two ints in the last few weeks had him closer to the 20/20 club. He’s still a ways off

  • DirtDawg1964

    Underrated and under appreciated by many. He’s long been a favourite player of mine. But I did think he was done this year. I don’t think the money is as much an issue in resigning him as it will be length of contract. Steelers might want two to three years where Timmons might want four to five.

  • Tedium cha

    I have always loved me some lawdog. I was disappointed when they didn’t resign him last off season. He said he thinks he’ll retire at 32 so I figure we can safely resign him to a two year contract. I think he isn’t too concerned about money. Always quiet. A true professional’s professional.

  • Sam Clonch

    He’s said (basically) he’d take a hometown discount to retire with the team that drafted him. I’d offer him a 2 or 3 year deal, $3mill per.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I would let him go and the money saved and a little extras could get you an OLB stud. I’m not saying break the bank on one and I don’t even know who might be available. You just have to think about the future after Harrison.

    I would gladly let Vince play as there will not be much of a let down . But the OLB might make it a better D all around.

  • SilverSteel

    Yes he did say that and I would love to keep him around. You need a mix of personnel when you are a young D. Our D is starting to gel and synergize. When you have tough games like the one we just played you need older leadership guys to stabilize the youth and not let them get in their own head during adversity. Law Dog is a constant contributor and a stabilizing force on this D, We need him.

  • SilverSteel

    I agree – I like me some V Will but I do not think he is a full time starter. I would like to see him rotated in a bit more though. Law Dog is just so consistent.

  • SilverSteel

    SO, if Law Dog stayed for 3 yrs at say..3 mil/yr – would you keep him then? Cause I think that is what we will offer to retire as a Steeler and he will take it.

  • Sam Clonch

    They don’t owe him anything for next year, he’ll be an UFA. He can sign a hometown discount contract, which he has said he’s be willing to do. I like your idea about a FA OLB, but it’s unlikely they go after a true “stud” like Chris Jones who’s going to command $10+mill a year. More likely is a Jabal Sheard. Man, I remember sites talking about maybe Nick Perry last year, who hadn’t done much yet might be a target. Wish they had pulled that trigger!

  • RickM

    He would say thank you, but no thanks. My guess is he can get about $15-18 Million over three years on the open market with $10 to $12 M guaranteed. Home team loyalty is great, but it won’t win out over the financial benefit to his family.

  • Sam Clonch

    As far as the money he’d say:
    “It’s not about money with me,” Timmons told Jason Mackey of DKonPittsburgh. “I already had two contracts. It’s not about the money. It’s about the love of the game.” – May 2016

  • Sam Clonch

    As far as his family he’d say:
    “I’ve been here for nine years, I’ve got a house here, I’d like to keep
    that house,” said Timmons, 29. “I’ve got a family here that loves it.” – June 2015

  • Matthew Marczi

    I could see a three-year deal in the ballpark of $6-8 million per. Probably more than most would like to see him get paid.

  • Matthew Marczi

    There was no possibility of a restructure. He’s in the last year of his contract, so there’s nowhere to push money into. He didn’t decline anything. Timmons earned $8,750,000 this season.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m pretty confident he gets more than $3 million. Derrick Johnson since a 3-year, $7 million deal in his age 34 season. David Harris signed a 3-year, $21.5 million contract with $15 fully guaranteed in his age 31 season.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s not about the money until it is. No self-respecting player with his talents, abilities, and resume would play for $3 million per season at this point. I think he will get at least what Rick suggested, if not more.

  • Sam Clonch

    Sure thing. Ramon Foster making 3.3, Will Gay at 2.5. Now go ahead and tell me “no, but they’re different!!” Or better yet, just save it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    They absolutely, unequivocally, are extremely different for many reasons, starting with pedigree, which whether or not you think it does, is a big factor in contracts. Timmons was a first-rounder. Gay was a fifth-rounder and undrafted free agent. Timmons has been a consistent starter for most of his career. Gay and Foster were not the selection to be the starter until later in their careers, but found their way there due to injuries often. Timmons has been to a Pro Bowl. The others have not. Timmons is already coming off a huge contract. The others never signed a big contract. Compare Timmons to Derrick Johnson and David Harris, not Foster and Gay.

  • Sam Clonch

    Knew you would.

  • Matthew Marczi

    This is how contracts work. Players have agents.

  • Sam Clonch

    Well he already has one, and I’m not buying what you’re selling, for the reasons I started of with. For you to only be able to see the black and white about a player whos true impact has always been anything but is pretty funny.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Do you know how many players say it’s not about the money? Just recently with the Steelers, Jerricho Cotchery and Steve McLendon have said it. It’s not about “the money” necessarily, but the salary has to at least come in at a level that shows a sign of respect and appreciation. $3 million would be taken as an insult for a player of Timmons’ body of work and current abilities.

  • RickM

    Well said about the resume, and yes the offer would be insulting given the year he has had. Steelers’ fans understandably want players to take well-below their true market value. But it seldom happens as you say. Foster might have done slightly better on the open market, but that’s debatable. Gay wouldn’t have gotten any more than what he got from the Steelers.

    Personally I’m stunned by some of the ‘after 30’ NFL contracts awarded. You could be right that he may get more than my estimate.

  • RickM

    He’s got a slew of facts. You have two quotes from 2015 and two salaries for guys whose overall value isn’t even close to comparable to one of the better ILB’s in the game. If you’re argument was right, he would already be signed. The Steelers would have leapt at an opportunity to sign him for $3 Million a year last off-season. You think Timmons will accept a bargain-basement discount. It won’t happen.

  • The Chin

    Semantics. There was indeed discussion of extension with Timmons this off season and they couldn’t come to an agreement. The Steelers had enough cap room to be comfortable with his 15.1 million dollar cap hit. That was the angst of the fans. No more, no less.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Of some fans. Many wanted him released altogether because he simply isn’t good anymore. And $6+ million of that cap hit was irrelevant to his current status.

  • Sam Clonch

    So James Harrison (5 pro bowls, 2 all pro’s, NFL DPOY, all time Steeler sack leader) will accept $1.75 mill per year, but Lawrence Timmons (single pro bowl) wouldn’t possibly go below $5-6 mill. Wrong!

  • Matthew Marczi

    First of all, who ever said Timmons “wouldn’t possibly go below $5-6 million”? Dave already projected three hypothetical contracts for Timmons, one of which was lower than that.

    Secondly, everybody who has commented on Harrison’s contract, including those who have nothing to do with the Steelers, has said what a bargain it is.

    Finally, this is yet another example of a loyal staple player signing before even hitting free agency, and in this case it’s a player who is insistent upon playing in a place that doesn’t require that he move his family. The Steelers got a good deal here. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t have earned more if he was willing to play elsewhere and wanted to max his offer. That was demonstrably not the case here.