The Steelers want to keep Woodley, who combined with James Harrison make up one of, if not the best, outside LB core i the NFL. The hope with the tag is that it will lead to a long-term deal.
The last time the Steelers tagged a player was tackle Max Starks in 2009, and just four months later they ripped up the tag and signed him to a four-year deal. Last year, the team was ready to tag nose tackle Casey Hampton, but it instead signed him to a three-year deal just before the deadline to franchise players and tagged kicker Jeff Reed instead.
Woodley would receive the linebacker tag salary, which is expected to exceed $10 million, but could argue that he deserves a hybrid end/linebacker figure like the one Terrell Suggs received in 2009. The defensive end franchise number is expected to come at more than $13 million.
Woodley’s 35 sacks since 2008 rank fourth in the NFL.