I get that injuries happen, I really do.
But year after year, it starts to get old and I start to wonder why my favorite team keeps oft-injured players around at a high salary.
One shining example of this is one LaMarr Woodley—and he is the 2013 Steelers biggest disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the “Woodman.” He’s strong, nasty and can really get after the quarterback.
And I’ll never forget his Super Bowl sealing sack-fumble of then Cardinals’ quarterback Kurt Warner.
Heck, I even have his jersey and wear it frequently.
He’s one of my favorite players, but I am disappointed in his past couple of years—particularly 2013.
And that’s because I’m seeing less and less of this:
And more and more of this:
Gone are the days of James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley wreaking havoc across the NFL.
In fact, Woodley’s numbers have declined over the past two seasons—seasons in which Harrison was injured or not on the team.
In 2009, Woodley had a career-high 13.5 sacks.
In 2010, he had 10 sacks.
In 2011, Woodley mustered nine sacks in 10 games-played.
In 2012, Woodley only had four sacks in 13 games-played.
And this past season, he only had five sacks in 11 games-played.
He is really on the decline it seems.
And doesn’t it look like he’s come into camp a little overweight every year?
The Steelers paid Woodley $3.6 million in 2013. That’s $720,000 per sack. Yikes.
The NFL’s leading sack-getter in 2013, Robert Mathis of the Colts, had 19.5 sacks this season and made $2.41 million. That’s a tad south of $123,590 per sack.
How can the Colts get away with paying Mathis $2.41 million per year and get that kind of production, when Woodley makes about a million more with far less production?
The Steelers need to look long and hard at what Woodley is really worth in the long-run. Is it better to stick with younger guys like Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones for significantly less money? Or has Woodley shown enough to earn another year?
Worilds had 8 sacks in 15 games-played in 2013. With his salary of $490,000, he made $61,250 per sack. Less money—more production.
I realize Worilds is up for a pay increase this season, but do you really think he’ll get Woodley money anywhere?
If it were up to me—granted an amateur sports-writer who watches football from the comfort of my couch—I’d let Woodley go.
And have to hang his jersey up with Mike Wallace’s.