Before the season LaMarr Woodley signed a six-year $61.5 million contract extension that made him the highest paid defensive player in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. He was coming off three straight seasons of double-digit sacks and figured to be a cornerstone of the defense for years to come.
But he hasn't played up to his previous level at all this season, let alone the new contract that he signed before the Season. He has just 1.5 sacks so far, and worse than that, he isn't making very much of an impact in other areas of the game. It's hard to point fingers at just one guy after the Steelers Week 4 loss to the Texans, but Woodley is certainly one of the players that didn't play up to his level.
Our Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain knows that is way too early to evaluate that contract that Woodley signed, but they also know that they need to get better production out of him if the defense is to be successful.
Still, is it just me, or does it not sit quite right that a fairly one-dimensional player was made the highest paid defensive player in team history? Woodley, to his immense credit, has great hands and sound instincts in the passing game. You can't say that about too many dudes his size. That said, he's not fast enough to where those traits come into play all that often in the high-speed National Football League.
Having said all that, the NFL season is very long and Woodley still has 12 regular season games to pick up the slack. But now that he is the highest paid player on the entire unit, he is going to be under some much harsher criticism than he might be used to.