There are important players all over the league currently in contracts that can be voided in one fashion or another. Either because there are clauses in the actual deal itself or because their guaranteed money will soon be over, etc. I came across this article that talks about not only the verbiage involved in the new CBA with issues like this but also some key Steelers players who are in this scenario.
Chances are, unless you have a job as a corporate lawyer, the verbiage of an NFL contract is about as coherent as that Shakespeare play they made you read in high school. Here’s one of my favorites, let’s see if you can make heads or tails of Article XXXIV, Section 7, sub-section ii, paragraph c, part iii of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which reads,
“At the end of a season, if performance bonuses previously included in a Team's Team Salary but not actually earned exceed performance bonuses actually earned but not previously included in Team Salary, an amount shall be added to the Team's Salary Cap for the next League Year equaling the amount, if any, by which such overage exceeds the Team's Room under the Salary Cap at the end of a season.”
For me, I don't buy that the Steelers would even consider letting Woodley go or Lawrence Timmons right now or in the next several years. Harrison though may be one where due to his age and money he'll definitely be asked to restructure in the coming years. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that he's asked to take an actual pay cut or eventually released before his deal is actually up. Clearly this writer is also assuming that they are going to give Rashard Mendenhall a new contract, but that's no guarantee by any stretch right now.
James Harrison, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers: This outspoken linebacker’s time in the Steel City may be coming to a close thanks to 2012 being the end of the $20 million guaranteed portion of his contract. In 2009, Harrison signed a 6 year, $51.75 million contract, but unfortunately for him, the biggest dollar amounts come in his last two years. If kept, the Steelers would owe Harrison $10.658 million and $11.69 million in 2013 and 2014. For a 34 year old linebacker whose production just went from 100 tackles in 2010 to 59 tackles in 2011, the writing may be on the wall.
LaMarr Woodley, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Is 9 sacks worth $700,000 in the NFL? Yes, Woodley’s 2012 base salary is a steal for the kind of stats he puts up -- but is 9 sacks worth $13.24 million? This is question the Steelers will have to answer as their star linebacker’s salary is about to go sky-high in 2013. Woodley will jump up to being the second highest paid linebacker in the NFL when his salary cap hit will average $12.21 million over the final four years of his contract. Since Woodley’s money is not guaranteed, he may turn into a salary cap casualty after this season.
Lawrence Timmons, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers: You read right, the Steelers are about to have a lot of big decisions to make. All three of their linebackers are set to get huge raises as Timmons also moves up with a cap hit of $8.6, $10.03, $10.78 and $10.3 million for each of his final four years respectively. At only 25 years old, Timmons is the youngest, and cheapest, or the three, so he should be safe for now. The real question is who Timmons will be playing beside in the future. Pittsburgh had better win now because, assuming they pay Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall will also be a free agent next season, and Big Ben’s salary is about to hit their cap hard, to the tune of about $20 million per. Some of these players are going to be left without a chair once the music ends.