Total Cap Number for Position: $38,729,046
Under Contract: James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds, Chris Carter, Sean Spence
Free Agents: Larry Foote, Stevenson Sylvester (Restricted)
All three of the starters under contract (Harrison, Woodley, Timmons) need to have their contracts restructured for some cap relief. This position is a mess in that regard.
Harrison is potentially a cap casualty. He has said that he won’t take a pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh and his contract is no bargain considering he only had six sacks in 2012. Slated to count over $10 million against the 2013 cap, he may be too old and expensive to keep.
Jason Worilds could replace Harrison in the lineup. He seemed to be ready during his brief stints in 2012 and compiled five sacks.
Woodley’s contract extension isn’t paying off yet, but he has been injured in both seasons since signing. He will need to redo his deal to bring down the cap number, but he isn’t going anywhere. The same goes for Timmons, who has steadily improved each season.
The team needs to add through the draft here. Unless they can free up enough money to make a serious run at Rey Maualuga, there isn’t a free agent worth buying. In the draft, they could go high with Kevin Minter or Alec Ogletree to replace either Foote inside or Harrison outside.
They will also hope for a healthy campaign from Spence, who should return from a nasty knee injury suffered in the preseason. If he can come back and be the valuable piece he was expected to be on draft day last year, the Steelers will have more flexibility with how they approach this position.