THURSDAY, 3:57pm: The Raiders have officially cut Woodley, the team announced today (via Twitter).
SUNDAY, 2:09pm: The Raiders plan to release edge defender LaMarr Woodley this week, a source tells Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Woodley was entering the final season of a two-year deal he inked with Oakland last March.
2014 was something of a lost season for Woodley, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Steelers. After playing strictly as an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme, Woodley moved to defensive end in Oakland’s 4-3 look, and didn’t adjust particularly well, ranking 44th out of 59 qualified 4-3 DEs per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Michigan alum played in just six games before tearing his biceps and missing the remainder of the season.
Woodley was due a $1MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2015 league year, meaning the Raiders presumably made this move with the intention of avoiding that payment. Woodley had no guaranteed money coming in 2015, so Oakland will clear his entire cap figure off its books, saving nearly $5.2MM. Pending further transactions, the Raiders should now be armed with nearly $61MM in cap space when the free agent period begins next week.
Always a better fit as a 3-4 OLB, Woodley could conceivably look to latch on with a team that plays that scheme. At his age, and coming off injury, he probably won’t be line for a multi-year deal or much guaranteed money. But a club like the Titans (where former Steelers coordinator Dick LeBeau is running the defense), the Cardinals, or the Colts could take a chance on Woodley, hoping that he might thrive with a return to linebacker. A reunion with Pittsburgh also wouldn’t be surprising, as the cash-strapped Steelers could use a veteran stop-gap at pass-rusher.