Free-agent outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Oakland Raiders, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Former Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley agreed to a two-year deal with the Oakland Raiders with a max value of $12 million dollars.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2014
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gave his knee-jerk reaction:
I like the Woodley signing in Oakland. When he was healthy last season he did some good things.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 13, 2014
The 29-year-old veteran was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, making him free to sign with any team, per Schefter.
Parting ways with Woodley will eventually save the Steelers $8 million, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac:
The Steelers will designate Woodley for a June 2 release, meaning his cap savings will not go into effect until then. But they wanted to release him now to give him a chance to sign with another team during the free-agency period that begins today.
Woodley, who had three years remaining on a six-year, $61.5 million contract, was scheduled to earn $8 million and count $13.6 million against the salary cap in 2014.
A former second-round pick by the Steelers in 2007, Woodley helped lead Pittsburgh to a Super Bowl title in 2008 and earned Pro Bowl honors in 2009. He started 11 regular-season games for the Steelers in 2013, recording 36 combined tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble.
Although injuries have plagued Woodley of late and limited his effectiveness, his release from Pittsburgh is likely to motivate him this offseason.
Last season, Woodley talked about what it means to be a leader on defense, per Steelers.com's Teresa Varley:
As a leader and professional football player you have to make sure you are doing everything right. You have to make sure you are playing at a high level. Everyone has to hold themselves accountable to play at a high level.
But in order for Woodley to play at a high level, he'll need to stay on the field.
In 2011, he missed six games because of a hamstring injury and was placed on injured reserve late last season with a calf injury. Recovering from those injuries will only get more difficult with age, but there's no doubt that the former Michigan star has proven to be a force off the defensive edge when healthy.
Despite the fact he's missed games and his numbers have declined since his All-Pro season in 2009, Woodley is closing in on 300 tackles and 60 sacks for his career.
It remains to be seen how Woodley will fit in with his new team and whether he can stay healthy, but for now, his championship pedigree, experience and leadership are sure to provide a huge boost for the Raiders to go along with the newly signed Justin Tuck.
Woodley will now be tasked with slowing down the likes of Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers as the Raiders look to rebound from yet another poor season in the AFC West.
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