Although the Pittsburgh Steelers got under the NFL salary cap when they restructured wide receiver Antonio Brown‘s contract over the weekend, there is still precious little room for them to sign draft picks and otherwise augment their roster.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert knows this, and he’s reportedly about to make a more drastic move to create financial space.
According to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, Colbert will tag veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley for release at 4 p.m. Tuesday, just as the NFL free-agency period begins:
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
As Schefter tweeted, technically Woodley will be released on June 1, which will give the Steelers get more cap relief than if he departed immediately. Our Matt Shetler wrote about this idiosyncrasy last month, as Woodley will cost the team $8.4 million less toward the 2014 cap by staying on the payroll until the end of May.
All in all, it’s more creative accounting from Colbert as he readies for free agency. The Pittsburgh GM signed breakout pass rusher Jason Worilds to a transition player tender last week, an unexpected maneuver that indicated the Steelers’ future plans for the linebacker position.
Colbert also recently reworked the contracts of veterans Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller, but it appears as if sentimentality will be left by the wayside in Woodley’s case. The 29-year-old University of Michigan product racked up double-digit sacks in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but injuries caused him to miss 14 regular-season games over the past three years.
Conditioning concerns have plagued Woodley in recent seasons as his production has trended downward. The one-time Pro Bowler will now get an opportunity for a fresh start away from the Steelers, who selected Woodley in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Keep it here on City of Champions for more coverage of NFL free agency from a Pittsburgh perspective.