With the start of training camp now just a few days away, it appears as though veteran Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons will arrive Thursday at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe without a contract extension in place. While it’s yet to be seen whether or not the Steelers former first-round draft pick will ultimately receive an extension between now and the start of the regular season, he’s given every indication this past offseason that he hopes to continue his career in Pittsburgh past 2016.
In a presumed recent interview with Mike Prisuta for steelers.com, Timmons reiterated his hope to finish his career where it started in 2007.
“I’m willing to do whatever just to be a part of this team and keep doing what I’m doing here,” Timmons said.
As I have posted several times over the course of the last calendar year, the Steelers could easily sign Timmons to short extension this offseason and in the process lower is 2016 salary cap charge if he’s willing to do a deal that includes no new signing bonus money outside of the one he’d receive to lower his 2016 base pay. It would be similar to the deals that former Steelers players Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller both signed a few years ago. The only thing that would need to be worked out is the amount of his future base salaries and how much of them are guaranteed.
As a point of reference, Timmons is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $8.75 million in 2016.
As Timmons heads into his tenth seasons with the Steelers, there’s a very good chance that he’ll see a little less playing time moving forward. While the always dependable linebacker played 95.3% of all regular-season defensive snaps in 2015, the team started to remove him from the field in lieu of an extra safety late in the season and in both playoff games. Timmons is well-aware that trend is likely to continue into 2016 and while he’s not overly excited about the prospects of that happening, he’s willing to do it just the same.
“That doesn’t sit well with me but it’s the best for our team so I’m all about doing that,” he reportedly told Prisuta.
While Timmons is obviously not the same player that he was earlier his career, he still can function as a two-down linebacker and occasionally stay on the field on third downs. Last season, he uncharacteristically missed a lot of tackles and if there is a major knock on him heading into 2016, it’s that. While he was beat in coverage a few times last season, the tape shows that he was very rarely beat convincingly.
Even though Timmons reportedly battled a turf toe injury last season, he still showed that he has burst north and south several times during the year in addition to being able to chase ball carriers down well past the line of scrimmage. He’s also a team leader, who knows the defense inside and out.
Timmons has been a consummate professional during his time with the Steelers and hopefully the two sides can come to some sort of agreement in the near future that will allow him to finish his career in Pittsburgh.
“I love it,” he said. “I love the camaraderie here, the fraternizing with the guys.”