There’s been lots of talk late of trading superstar, Ben Roethlisberger, but I think there’s another name that should be thrown out there. I’m using the term “superstar” very loosely in his case. The man I’m talking about is the linebacker that received a 6 year 61.5 million dollar contract in 2011, LaMarr Woodley.
SteelDad mentioned on this site prior to the Browns game that since signing that contract, Woodley has played in 32 of 41 games and has a total of 18 sacks. Not exactly “superstar” type of production.
There were whispers around the locker room in 2012 that LaMarr Woodley had put on too much weight, and that was reason for him not being able to stay healthy, and not producing on the field. The word around camp this past pre-season was that he looked to be in much better shape, but we were still not seeing great production prior to his most recent injury.
The Steelers are basically in the midst of a playoff run already. Almost every game is “must win” at this point, and where’s Woodley? Part of me wondered if he sat Sunday, to be ready to go against the Ravens on Thanksgiving night. With how this team has looked though, I think it would be stupid to look past the Browns.
Luckily for the Steelers, Jason Worilds looked great against the Browns yesterday. The box score only shows 5 tackles and 0 sacks, but Worilds was in the face of Browns quarterbacks all day. He also registered 8 tackles and a sack against the Lions last week.
Worilds played well last year in limited snaps as well. Many people took notice of how much better he played from the left side (where he primarily lined up in college) while Woodley was out of the lineup.
I may be jumping the gun on this Worilds over Woodley rant, but I can’t remember the last time I felt that Woodley made the kind of impact that Worilds did yesterday (without even registering a sack). This team despite looking better lately, needs to take a hard look at anyone that’s not playing “above the line,” to borrow one from Coach Tomlin.
I still think this team should error on the side of building for the future, versus winning games now. They may sneak into the playoffs, but they won’t get to a Superbowl this season. If they could trade LaMarr Woodley in order to unload his contract for something like a 3rd or 4th round pick, I think they should do it.
I understand it’s a risky move, but I don’t think anyone can argue Woodley has earned the money he’s been making. Obviously, for a trade to happen you’d need a partner, and that’s a lot of money for a team to take on. However, teams are always in need of pass rushers, and if the Steelers didn’t demand too much I think it could happen. There’s also always a team like the Eagles or Redskins that value a big name over big production.
I’m no cap expert, but from what I understand cutting Woodley would create a bigger cap hit in dead money than keeping him. It still might be worth it if it gets his contract off the books after 2014.
All of this assumes that the Steelers could extend Worilds’ contract for a reasonable amount. Last season the Steelers brought in Victor Butler for a visit. Butler was playing behind Demarcus Ware in Dallas, and had played well in limited snaps but wanted to find somewhere he could start. Sounds a lot like Worilds doesn’t it? Butler eventually signed a 2 year, 3 million dollar contract with the Saints.
I know letting Woodley go seems crazy to some, but it comes down to this. Would you rather have Woodley at 10 million per season (who’s 29 years old) or Jason Worilds at 2-3 million per season (who’s 25 years old)?