Steelers will release LB LaMarr Woodley at 4 ET Tuesday, designate him a post June 1 casualty, per source. He will be free to sign Tuesday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2014
Not a real huge shock here. I think the shock more comes from name value as Woodley was a huge piece to the Steelers defensive success since he was taken in the second round of the 2007 draft. He came into his own in the 2008 season with the first of three straight years with double-figure sacks.
The last two seasons have seen Woodley suffer a significant dip in production (nine sacks between the 2012 and 2013 season) and just not being healthy and having the ability to stay on the field. He was set to take up $13.5M of cap space in 2014, $14M in 2015 and $11.9M in 2016.
This will be a post-June 1 cut which means that the Steelers won't have any salary cap savings until after June 1. At that time the Steelers will save somewhere in the neighborhood of $8M in 2014 and then $5.5M in 2015.
Woodley was an outstanding player for the Steelers in his time with the team. The tandem of he and James Harrison were one of the best pass rushing tandems in the NFL. Both wanted/earning too much money so moves were made. Both moves include the players not being in Black and Gold.
That Woodley news really might have sent the vibe that the Steelers were going to make some tough choices and another one of those choices came with Ike Taylor. Taylor sent this out earlier in the evening:
The INK is about to dry on this paper...im a LIFER...#6BURGHfoalldemhatas...will retire as a ROONEY and a LEBEAU...✌️
— Ike Taylor (@Ike_SwagginU) March 10, 2014
That means that Taylor will not be cut and will be back in 2014. With how thin the Steelers are corner that was a move that is good. As most of you know I am a pretty big fan of Taylor's play over his career so I think this is good.
It is obvious that Taylor had a down year in 2013 and at $7M he probably wasn't worth that. Later in the night Ed Bouchette gave us the terms:
Ike Taylor agrees to 1-year deal for $2.75 M salary. No years added. Cut from $7M salary. Saves team $4.25 M in cap room.
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) March 11, 2014
Pretty significant cut for Taylor. While the Woodley release doesn't give the Steelers any cap relief until after June 1 this news gives the Steelers the savings right away. Like it or not the Steelers are in the middle of a rebuild and they are, like always, right against the cap. Things are as dire as some thing or they have been in past years so they are slowly getting in better shape.
The team has a lot of holes to fill and to be able to gain $4+M of cap space by a player taking less money says a lot about that player and how much he loves to play for the Steelers. This might be the last season that Taylor plays in the NFL but good on him for wanting to be somewhere and taking a huge hit to make that happen. I talk about the idea that players should get the money that they can. Taylor obviously has made a ton of money over his career and it seems like this was something he was really willing to do.
There was also more stuff going on with the Steelers but to stay up to date on that go visit the offseason tracker over at Behind the Steel Curtain. Great stuff by those guys, as always.