At 29 years of age, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons still remains a tackling machine in the interior of the team’s defense and the fact that he hasn’t missed a game since 2010 has him hoping that the organization will extend his contract during the offseason so that he can finish his professional career right where it started.
“I hope so, I love it here,” Timmons said recently when asked about his contract situation, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I can’t see myself being anywhere else.”
Being as Timmons is set to earn a base salary of $8.75 million and count a little more than $15.131 million against the team’s salary cap in 2016, one would think that the Steelers would like to lower both of those numbers during the upcoming offseason. Outside of him taking a straight pay cut, which is very unlikely to happen, the team will need to extend his contract in order to accomplish both of those goals.
The best way to go about handling an extension for Timmons being as he’ll turn 30 in May is to turn a large portion of the $8.75 million he’s set to earn in 2016 into a signing bonus while adding on two or three additional years. The Steelers did something similar to that with tight end Heath Miller and safety Troy Polamalu back in 2014. The only question at that point remains whether or not Timmons expects the average of his new money given to him to be equal to or more than what he’s currently earning.
If the Steelers feel like Timmons can continue to produce at a reasonably high level over the course of the next two or three seasons, giving him more upfront guaranteed money as a signing bonus won’t necessarily be an issue. However, if they don’t, they might have to appease him by giving him a base salary of $7 million or more in 2017. If that course of action takes place, we might be discussing Timmons’ status for 2017 at this same time next year.
Timmons is being asked to drop into coverage more this season with Keith Butler now running the team’s defense and he’s fine with that even though his per-game tackle numbers have taken a hit in the process.
“I am a guy who is willing to do whatever,” Timmons said. “They still rush me, too, so I am not complaining. The more you can do, like [Mike] Tomlin said, will keep you around here longer. I am trying to be around here for a while.”
It’s really tough seeing Timmons being cut loose during the offseason, so expect the former first-round draft pick to sign an extension at some point after the 2015 season ends.
Timmons has registered 73 total tackles and 2.5 sacks so far this season. Last year, the Florida State product made his first Pro Bowl after recording 132 total tackles.