Earlier today the Steelers rewarded LaMarr Woodley with the second largest contract in Steelers history. The six year, $61 million dollar extension ensures that Ike Taylor and Woodley will spend the prime of their careers in Pittsburgh. Now, the attention must be turned to future Hall of Fame Safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker Lawrence Timmons, and burner Mike Wallace.
Wallace is a restricted free agent and therefore not as pressing as the others. My thought was always that it would be Woodley, not Timmons, who would have the highest possibility of walking. Timmons plays the less glamorous position of Inside Linebacker and thus receives less recognition for his contributions. He led the Steelers in tackles last season and finished eighth in the league. He also forced two fumbles and is superb in pass coverage. It is hard to imagine Pittsburgh letting a home-grown product of his caliber leave.
Polamalu’s accomplishments are well known. He is coming off his third Super Bowl appearance and his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. The oft-injured Safety is the game’s best when healthy and he anchors a Pittsburgh secondary that has been the weakness of the defense for years. There is not a sure-fire replacement for him within the organization. Although his injury history is becoming a bit concerning, Polamalu is showing no signs of slowing down relative to the competition.
Whether the Steelers will be able to sign all three players next off-season is unknown. But, Woodley, while a budding superstar, may have been the most logical choice to leave the organization. The fact that he was inked to a six year deal should give fans some confidence that contracts will be worked out with the others.