Following in the foot-steps of Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger and Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley will reportedly also re-structure his contract this week or next. For those of you keeping score at home, the re-structuring of a players’ contract is not a pay cut. It’s actually a way to convert salary money into signing bonus money.
This reduces the cap number but also means the team has to pony up the money well ahead of when they normally would have. It gets much more specific than that but that’s the basic idea.
While Roethlisberger has now done this for the third straight year, Woodley will be doing this for the first time. As one of the biggest cap numbers on the team, Woodley’s salary re-structuring is only natural.
I have a better suggestion. Why isn’t the team asking Woodley for a pay cut?
Since he signed his 6 year – $61 million dollar deal in August of 2011, the former Michigan Wolverine has spent the majority of his time in one of two places. Either in the training room with injuries or on the ‘missing in action’ list from the box score. Woodley has been a serious disappointment the last two seasons.
Perhaps my question serves a larger purpose. Why do athletes in general who sign these huge deals and then produce little in the way of results not got dinged for paybacks more often?
In Woodley’s case, he’s a guy who is already pretty one-dimensional in terms of rushing which is basically a bull rush and not much else. Add on those extra pounds and toss in those injuries and you have a pretty basic and ineffective outside linebacker.
Woodley has also rubbed fans the wrong way much in the same way Maurkice Pouncey did by selling ‘Big Man Swag’ T-shirts just minutes after the Steelers lost in Super Bowl XLV. Woodley has become the proud owner of a professional bowling team, has been seen on the cover of ESPN Magazine posing as a member of RUN DMC and has been seen on Spike TV too.
I’m not suggesting that professional athletes can’t have interests outside of their profession, but when you become involved with so many other outside issues and you have two terrible seasons in a row, it doesn’t come off real well to the fans.
Shoot, think of how it comes off to the front office of the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Nobody wants LaMarr Woodley to return to his old self more than me. By getting in better shape and staying healthy for an entire season, Woodley can quickly silence critics like myself. His presence on the field can be down-right intimidating, but not in the state we’ve seen the last two seasons.
I could care less if Woodley works out with Tom Shaw or Tom Jones this off-season. I just want to see a guy wreaking havoc off the left-side. If he can’t return to the form we all know he has then perhaps re-structuring is not the best option and making him give back some salary is.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.