Posted by Andy Benoit
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers will place the franchise tag on outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. The team has until February 23 to make the move.
Tagging Woodley is not a major surprise, though some had speculated that free agent cornerback Ike Taylor is actually the team’s greatest offseason priority. The Steelers have a history of letting star linebackers walk away (see Hardy Nickerson, Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland, Jason Gildon, Greg Lloyd and Joey Porter). However, all of those player were nearing 30. Woodley is only 26.
Since becoming a starter as a second-year pro in 2008, the second-round pick from Michigan has recorded double0digit sacks every season. Dominant as Woodley is as a pass-rusher, his strength and ability to shed blocks makes him equally as destructive as a playside run-defender.
Most players disdain the franchise tag, though Woodley’s sentiment seems to be one of acceptance. He’ll make the average salary of the five highest-paid linebackers in football.
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