My Take on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ $61.5 Million “Mistake”

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Many in Steeler Nation were applauding the Front Office this past offseason when Colbert & Crew handed over a 6 year $61.5 million contract to OLB LaMarr Woodley to keep him in the Steel City.  Sure it was nice to see the Steelers retain one of their own players, but I’ve got to ask one simple question:  Did they really need to pay that kind of money to retain Woodley’s supposedly irreplaceable services?  To make matters worse, the Steelers’ already thin and terrible Offensive Line was affected by this wasteful splurge of cash.  The unit which got zero Free Agent upgrades this past offseason is now seeing their sub-par spare parts struggling to keep their QB and themselves out of the Emergency Room.  Sure, some teams’ Front Office’s neglect obvious needs and overpay jagoff players that are supposedly good (see: Redskins, Washington), but I always thought that the Steelers were above that type of negligent garbage.

So for my newest article I would like to discuss the following: First, I will delve into the specific reasons why I believe that the F.O.’s signing of Woodley to a long-term contract was an imprudent economic and football move for the franchise as a whole.  Next, I will examine what sorts of upgrades the Steelers could have made along the O-Line amongst the 2011 Free Agent pool had that money not been spent on Woodley.  Finally, I will conclude the article by sharing my thoughts on where the Steelers’ F.O. should go from here.  Hit the “More” button if you want to keep reading or leave me comments telling me what an idiot I supposedly am:

What Happened This Offseason:

When I found out that there was a strong possibility that Ike Taylor might be leaving via Free Agency and the Franchise Tag might be needed to keep him around, I was actually against the Steelers bringing Woodley back to the team if that would have meant Ike packing his bags.  Ike is without a doubt the best CB on the roster, one of the most underrated CB’s in the League, and is far more meaningful to the Steelers’ overall defensive success than Woodley (i.e. Ike is the only competent CB on the team).  Just consult a depth chart of the Steelers’ CB’s and you’ll understand my argument without any trouble.  The F.O. decided against the Franchise Tag for Ike and instead used it on LaMarr who was given a 1 year $10+ million tender to stay in Pittsburgh. Thankfully the F.O. stepped up and re-signed Ike (who has been the best Defender on the team all season) to a 4 year contract.

I eventually came around to the idea of Woodley being franchised, and I mean it did seem like a practical move made by the the F.O. that was in the best interests of the team overall.  I figured that Woodley would essentially be a mercenary for one final year while Jason Worilds and Chris Carter developed into the next prime-time OLB’s that the Steelers usually churn out every 5 years or so.  With him locked up for one contract year, the franchise could let Woodley hit Free Agency in 2012 and allow some team overpay for his services.  You know, the kind of intelligent thinking and savvy business sense that both Steeler GM’s Donahoe and Colbert have utilized over the last two decades.

Instead, the F.O. acted irrationally and pulled a Jerry Maguire by “showing LaMarr the money!” and gave Woodley his massive long-term contract!  Since he got his money, people and media pundits alike have begun to notice that LaMarr has been virtually non-existent out on the field in 2011.  And as I intend to illustrate below, all signs should have pointed to the Front Office not handing him one red cent outside of the Franchise Tender: