NFL Free Agency: Top 10 Landing Spots for LaMarr Woodley
Woodley put together a monstrous 2010 season in which he had 10 sacks, 50 tackles, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
The Steelers have officially put the franchise tag on Woodley and he will most likely make around $10.2 million, which is the average rate of the top five paid linebackers.
That is, IF the franchise tag will even exist after a new CBA is reached.
If the players and owners keep the franchise tag, is there a chance Woodley could walk after this season and take his services to the highest bidder? We have learned that many players are against being "franchised" and they will hold that against that team.
Luckily for Steeler Nation, Woodley has already made it clear that he is not opposed to being franchised. That still doesn't guarantee that Woodley's pay-day will come from Pittsburgh.
Let's speculate here (with nothing else going on because of the lockout) and take a look at the top 10 potential landing spots for LaMarr Woodley.
10- New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are not too far removed from being Super Bowl champions, but their chances at a repeat were affected greatly by their lack of a pass rush.
They did make it to the playoffs, but that is where they met up with the worst playoff team in NFL history, and then they lost to them.
Marshawn Lynch's breath-taking run where he proceeded to truck five different defenders came at the hands of the Saints.
They need some toughness, and LaMarr Woodley is as tough as they come.
9- Arizona Cardinals
Ken Whisenhunt has stated this offseason that he wants to add toughness and grit to his team. LaMarr Woodley would be an instant upgrade to any team's intimidation factor.
Finding an outside linebacker who can rush the passer is among the Cardinals' bigger needs (besides a QB). They have searched for one since Whisenhunt came to Arizona in 2007 and installed the 3-4 scheme.
Woodley would be a welcome addition to a Cardinals defense that lacks speed off the edge.
8- Green Bay Packers
Could you imagine Clay Matthews Jr. and LaMarr Woodley on opposite edges? That duo might surpass the current duo of Harrison and Woodley.
The Packers have stated that they want to find another pass-rusher to complement Matthews, to discourage some of the double- and triple-teams that he faces each game.
The Packers would certainly be willing to give Woodley a huge pay-day to help bring another Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.
Would Lamarr have to grow out his hair like Clay if he signed with Green Bay? It would be pretty sweet if he did.
7- New York Jets
Ryan has had nothing but great things to say about Woodley, who has the type of speed, grit and tenacity that would work well in Ryan's 3-4 scheme.
What a shock it would be if LaMarr Woodley took his helmet and shoulder pads up I-95 to the New Meadowlands?
Is Woodley the type of player who would "dig" the bright lights of New York?
6- Baltimore Ravens
Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and LaMarr Woodley. Sounds like it's straight out of a Madden commercial, doesn't it?
The Ravens only allowed 16.9 PPG in 2010. Adding a player of Woodley's caliber would be a huge addition, especially with the fact that Ray Lewis has to be near retirement. The guy can't play forever...can he?
Terrell Suggs had 11 sacks in 2010, but the next closest was Haloti Ngata. Woodley would instantly cement the Ravens defense as the most intimidating in the league.
5- New England Patriots
The Patriots surprised a lot of people when they did not address their pass-rushing situation until the sixth round when they took Markell Carter out of D-IAA Central Arkansas.
He was one of the most underrated picks of the draft at No. 194, and the Patriots could end up with a solid situational pass rusher.
On the other hand, Markell could prove the other teams in the NFL right by not transitioning successfully to the NFL game. While Markell is a huge question mark, LaMarr Woodley is a guarantee.
Woodley will create havoc in the backfield and be a difference-maker for the Patriots. Could you imagine how Bill Belichick would utilize a player with LaMarr Woodley's assets?
4- San Diego Chargers
The Chargers were a different defense when they had Shawne Merriman.
Shaun Phillips had 11 sacks in 2010 and is a monster, but no other Charger had more than six. Phillips would be complemented very nicely by Woodley.
LaMarr Woodley's sack dance (stomping foot) would let Chargers fans forget about Mr. "Lights Out" rather quickly.
3- Denver Broncos
The Broncos used their early first round selection to take Von Miller, who is widely regarded as the safest pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Miller will be looking for a large rookie contract (if the new CBA allows it), and spending a lot of money on Woodley would exponentially increase Denver's sack numbers.
Woodley and Miller would be potential Pro Bowlers for the next 10 years at outside linebacker for Denver.
2- Philadelphia Eagles
Philly Nation has been clamoring for a suitable pass rusher to complement Trent Cole for years now. LaMarr Woodley in Eagle Green might be just what the Eagles need to finally win a Super Bowl.
Woodley would be instantly loved by Philadelphia because of the way he plays. The Birds have the cash to break the bank for Woodley, and investing in a player of his caliber would be a great idea.
LaMarr Woodley would bring back the type of "swagger" and intensity that Philly hasn't seen since Brian Dawkins left for Denver.
1- Pittsburgh Steelers
Even if the new CBA doesn't allow for NFL teams to franchise players, I still have a hard-time imagining LaMarr Woodley playing for any other team besides the Steelers. Woodley fits the Pittsburgh Steelers "Steel Curtain" mold of a player so well.
Woodley is big, strong, instinctive and nasty. He has already embedded himself into the hearts of Steeler Nation.
LaMarr Woodley will be a huge free-agent if the CBA calls for it and many NFL teams will be throwing top dollar his way for his services, but don't expect Woodley to leave the Steel City any time soon.