The contract situation surrounding Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons has been well documented. Due to receive a whopping $15.1 million dollars in 2016, almost everyone expects the veteran linebacker to sign a new contract extension, like Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu before him, which would keep him in the black and gold uniform while decreasing his salary cap hit.
What is refreshing to hear from the player in this situation is how the money doesn't matter all that much. But is that even possible? You see players leave NFL teams every year to find their next big paycheck, but not for Timmons.
"It's not about money with me," Timmons told Jason Mackey of DKonPittsburghSports.com. "I already had two contracts. It's not about the money. It's about the love of the game."
Timmons is 30 years-old now, and although he has seen some of his most well-known characteristics start to diminish, he is still considered a legitimate starter alongside Ryan Shazier. In 2015, Timmons accounted for 119 combined tackles, 5 sacks and 6 pass defenses. Nonetheless, when Timmons was once thought to be the iron man who never left the field, he was subbed off the field for a reserve safety in specific sub packages last year.
Does that concern Timmons? Not in the least. He just wants the defense to improve.
"Right now we're just trying to get better," Timmons told Mackey, speaking of this youth movement on the defensive side of the ball. "We have a lot of young guys we're trying to get used to. We're trying to build them up. We have to come out here, play fast and get better."
Coming full circle, Timmons shouldn't, and isn't, concerned about his contract. If the Steelers want to pay him the money he is due in the final year of his contract, not many would gripe about making $15 million dollars for a season in the NFL. However, for the Steelers to be able to function comfortably under the salary cap, extending Timmons' contract would be the prudent choice at this juncture.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert didn't talk about the individual contract situation of Timmons, but did talk about how the organization looks at potentially extending, or restructuring, contracts as the time comes.
"You're always looking at a player's production versus his compensation," Colbert said. "If he's not producing like he's being compensated, then you either have to terminate him or reduce him or restructure. Those are all options with any player that has a big cap number."
In Timmons' case, he certainly has shown he can still perform, and it should be noted was dealing with a toe injury last year which likely plagued the linebacker throughout the 2015 season.
What might be the underlying cause for Timmons to do what is best for the team is his love for the organization. When asked if he wants to remain with the Steelers his answer said it all.
"Of course. I love it here."
It is likely the team will address the situation this offseason, keeping the fan favorite in the black and gold for years to come.