Timmons Settles In South Beach Similarly As Coach Porter Did A Decade Ago

If you had to ask any member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ organization for their insight on Lawrence Timmons decision to sign with the Miami Dolphins, you would not find any better insight than that of outside linebackers’ coach Joey Porter. Porter knows all too well of Timmons’ decision to head to south beach as it was almost exactly ten years ago that Porter chose Miami as his next career destination.

The circumstances surrounding each of the linebacker’s departures are eerily similar, not only on the field, but also in the locker room and financially. Leaders of their respective defense, both linebackers represented what their coaches sought, with Porter embodying the physicality that Bill Cowher craved and Timmons setting the standard that Mike Tomlin desired. But just as Porter and Timmons seemed virtual guarantees to play their entire careers in the location it started, an important reminder was given to us all.

That no matter what, change is the only true constant in football.

With Cowher now retired after the 2006 season, the Steelers decided to move on from Porter due to money, age concerns and hold out rumours and instead turn to special team’s star James Harrison. Now ten years later, Tomlin is not retiring but a schematic change seems to be making its works through the Steelers’ defense. Pursuing a more athletic defense to match the fast-paced nature of the league, the Steelers saw Timmons as expendable and instead turn to another home grown special teams star in Vince Williams.

Just like any personnel move, the departure of Porter and Timmons’ included its fair share of financial motivation and the number that resulted in the departure of both linebackers matched as well – 5 million dollars.

Entering the final year of his contract Porter was scheduled to earn $5 million total with $4 million in salary and $1 million from a roster bonus. Porter believed he was worth more than the $5 million he was set to earn but the Steelers thought otherwise and cut him.  As fate would have it, $5 million per year ($10 m /2 years total) was the offer made by the Steelers to Timmons according to the NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, who goes on to say that the biggest difference maker in Timmon’s decision was the guaranteed money offered by the Dolphins.

Upping the guaranteed money is a negotiation tactic that the Dolphins front office has been using to lure Steelers’ linebackers for the last decade – a tactic that has yet to fail. Just like the Dolphins guaranteed $11 million of the total $12 million offered to Timmons, they guaranteed majority of Porter’s contract too. Porter’s five-year, $32 million contract reportedly included a whopping $20 million in guaranteed money.

While the Timmons’ Miami story has begun identically as Porter’s, the only item left to wonder is if his will end in identical fashion. Just as Pittsburgh witnessed the identity of their defense leave for south beach a decade ago, the city will watch it happen again but perhaps in the final chapter of our tale, Timmons will follow Porter’s footsteps once more and return to the city of Pittsburgh in the future, even if just for a day.

About the Author

Daniel Valente
Steelers fan from birth, spending majority of my free time looking up statistics. Had the honor of meeting Mike Vanderjagt shortly after his infamous missed field goal in the 2005 Divisional Round. Currently pursuing a Journalism degree. Follow me on Twitter @StatsGuyDaniel
  • Doogie

    I like VW but thinking he isnt going to cover the fast TEs, or RBs, so 3rd down hybrid guy?

  • Rusted Out

    Another aging vet with something left in the tank goes to a team willing to over pay. For anyone who was objectively paying attention, the writing was on the wall when the Steelers did not restructure his deal and signed V.W. I have to take a break from the Depot on and off. It’s as if the chicken littles are having a funeral procession for Law Dog. Gimme a break. He’s doing what we all do when we get old, take our money and move to Florida.

  • Jason

    Plus he’s a Florida guy. It was a no brainer.

  • Charles Haines

    On passing downs VW will fill in exactly as Timmons, tackle the catch 3 yards past the 1st down marker.

  • RickM

    It was a smart move by Miami. Timmons has only missed 2 games in 10 years. There’s no real injury risk in terms of them guaranteeing the money. And equally important it’s only a two-year deal so they don’t have to pay a 33-year-old LB.

  • gdeuce

    it made absolutely no sense that they rarely flipped Shazier and Timmons in those situations

  • ryan72384

    Wow we offered 2 years 10 mil and he turned it down. I was kind of thinking we hadn’t even made an offer. We payed the guy what 16 million last year and he couldn’t come back to us and end his career on a 2 year contract where he was at least going to see 5 the first year. Crazy how much money these guys think they need. SMH

  • RickM

    Miami essentially guaranteed the second year, the Steelers didn’t. If the Steelers cut him after this season he loses $7 M overall for his family. It’s a no-brainer decision for him. As for how much money these athletes need, I don’t begrudge them that. They’ve trained to play football and they have 50 years or so ahead after leaving the NFL

  • Zarbor

    I’m with you Ryan. That’s why you really can’t listen to these guys claiming they want to be a Steelers for life. I don’t blame them if they go for the money but you would think after all those years being taken care of he would end his career as a Steeler with the hopes of winning another Championship.

    He’s made big money as Steeler and at this point in his career you would think even if the second year isn’t guaranteed he would be set by now. Miami isn’t winning no Championship anytime soon. Guess that was not as important to him as he stated. Thanks for the years Timmons. You gave us your best years and that’s good enough.

  • John Phillips

    So the next time we play Miami, Timmons will pick off Ben, but we still win the game. I love it.