The PIttsburgh Steelers were expected to place the franchise tag on LB LaMarr Woodley and that's what they did on Friday, according to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network. Woodley becomes the eighth player to receive the franchise tag this month.
The Steelers do want to sign Woodley to an extension and the franchise tag buys them some time to do so. We're not sure what kind of numbers Woodley is looking at for his next deal but a good comparison may be his teammate, LB James Harrison, who signed a six-year, $51 million contract after the 2009 season. The 2011 franchise tag number for linebackers is expected to be in the neighborhood of $10.2 million.
It's unclear if he received the exclusive or non-exclusive version of the tag but only two players -- QB Peyton Manning and QB Michael Vick -- have received the exclusive tag to this point. The non-exclusive tag allows the player to speak with other teams and, if they offer him a contract, the Steelers can match it or receive two first round picks in return.
Woodley's clearly an important part of the Steelers defense and one they couldn't let hit free agency (if there ever is a free agency).
The NFL told teams the franchise tag will be available on February 10 and last until February 24. The NFLPA, though, says the franchise tag is meaningless without a new CBA.
Check out Behind The Steel Curtain for more on the Woodley news.