Transition tag given to Jason Worilds all but cuts LaMarr Woodley

Justin K. Aller

Unless the Steelers are comfortable paying two outside linebackers 18 percent of their salary cap, one of them has to go. It seems more likely Woodley is headed for a June 1 cut.

June 1 will mark a new point in the career of LaMarr Woodley. Obviously not playing games in the middle of the summer, Woodley may have to see June 1 as a reminder of the end of his time with the team that drafted him.

Jason Worilds was given the Steelers' transition tag Monday, guaranteeing him $9.75 million for the 2014 season. Adding that into Woodley's $8 million salary, one of them has to go.

And it ain't gonna be Worilds.

Woodley, the team's second round pick in 2007, has suffered multiple injuries over the last three seasons, taking his playing time and as a byproduct his statistics down to a minimal level. Minimal, in comparison to the expectations placed on him when he signed a 6-year, $61.5 million contract after the lockout in 2011.

How does he stay? If he takes a pay cut. Considering the Steelers are obviously showing a commitment to Worilds, Woodley would probably be smart to refuse and look to play somewhere else before he'd be cut next season in favor of the future.

To Woodley's credit, his production in terms of pressure and hurries has been among the better stats at his position, but he doesn't add to them when he isn't on the field. Along with that, the Steelers took Jarvis Jones in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, likely looking to hedge their future bets on Worilds, who was entering free agency the following year, or Woodley, who hasn't been able to play a full season since 2010 - the only time in his career he played in all 16 of the team's games.

The question is when the team will release him. He'd be designated a post-June 1 release, meaning the team is able to spread this remaining cap charge - which is significant in 2015 - over to next year as well. Woodley's release basically pays for Worilds' tag, so the team will be down one veteran player at the position, provided they don't sign one in free agency.

As for free agency, with the start of it set for March 11, it seems news will come out on who will want to sign Woodley, not whether he'll stay in Pittsburgh.

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