Steelers Ready For Fiscal New Year

LaMarr Woodley (LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

The Steelers prepped for the start of the NFL's free-agency season today by paring their roster of one big salary and more than half of another.

The Steelers told outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley they will release him today and reportedly will designate him as a post-June 1 cut in order to save $8 million against this year's salary cap.

That money won't be free for use until June 2, but Woodley will still be able to shop himself as a free agent today.

The Steelers also reached an agreement with cornerback Ike Taylor to pare his salary from $7 million to $2.75 million for the final year of his contract.

Presumably, this will be the final year in the league for the soon-to-be 34-year-old Taylor, who tweeted late Monday that "The INK is about to dry on this paper...im a LIFER...will retire as a ROONEY and a LEBEAU." or the Steelers could be reached for confirmation.

The agreement with Taylor puts the Steelers $7.34 million under the salary cap as the fiscal new year -- and thus league-wide free agency -- begins today at 4 p.m.

According to recent reports, the Steelers are looking at cornerbacks such as Alterraun Verner, Nolan Carroll and Captain Munnerlyn in free agency, and they'll certainly be looking to re-sign some of the members of their own free-agent class that includes the following:

Plaxico Burress, Ryan Clark, Jerricho Cotchery, Jonathan Dwyer, Ziggy Hood, David Johnson, Felix Jones, Brett Keisel, Mat McBriar, Michael Palmer, Emmanuel Sanders, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Stevenson Sylvester, Fernando Velasco, Cody Wallace, Greg Warren, Jamaal Westerman, Guy Whimper and Al Woods.

Since the Steelers won't be able to use money from the Woodley release until June 2, that money will likely be used to pay for the incoming draft class, players nos. 52 and 53 on the opening-day roster, the practice squad, an in-season injury fund, and perhaps extensions for starters entering the final year of their contracts such as Maurkice Pouncey, Cortez Allen and Marcus Gilbert.

The down side of the Woodley release is that the Steelers will push $8.6 million of pro-rated bonus money into the following year and it will count against their 2015 salary cap.

The other negative is that Woodley, who'll turn 30 on Nov. 3, remains an effective pass-rusher when healthy.

In 11 starts last season, Woodley recorded 5 sacks (second on team) and 17 quarterback hurries/pressures (fourth on team). However, in the past three seasons Woodley has missed 14 games with a variety of leg injuries and the Steelers just signed Jason Worilds to pair opposite last year's first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones.

The second-round draft choice in 2007, Woodley finishes his seven-year Steelers career with 57 regular-season sacks to rank seventh in team history. He added 11 sacks in 8 post-season games.

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