In what has been expected for some time now, the Steelers placed the franchise tag on LaMarr Woodley on Friday — via Jason La Canfora on the Tweet machine — in what is most likely just a temporary move until a long-term contract gets worked out.
If a long-term deal isn’t worked out and Woodley plays the 2011 season — assuming there is a 2011 season, that is — under the tag he’ll earn a cool $10 million, the average of the five highest paid players at his position, which certainly isn’t bad for him. He’s had three straight seasons with at least 10 sacks and has recorded at least one sack in every playoff game he’s played in, which stacks up quite well with best pass-rushers in the NFL.
Now that Woodley has been tagged, the focus turns to not only getting him a new contract, but also trying to work out a new deal with Ike Taylor. Taylor, in my opinion, is the most important free agent the Steelers have given the position he plays and the players behind him on the roster.
That’s not to diminish the importance of Woodley, not only for his big-play ability, but also because he’s one of the starters on the Steelers defense under the age of 30.