Patience pays off for LaMarr Woodley

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley was one of the NFL's best bargains in 2010. Coming off a Pro Bowl campaign one year prior, Woodley stayed quiet and played out the final year of his rookie contract for $550,000, recording 10 sacks and helping the Steelers get to Super Bowl XLV.

The Steelers rewarded Woodley's patience on Friday. Woodley signed a six-year, $61.5 million extension that will make him one of the team's highest-paid players, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The AFC North blog also has confirmed the report.

The move frees up additional cap room for the Steelers and removes the franchise tag for Woodley. Several veterans also restructured contracts to ensure Pittsburgh is in compliance with the $120 million salary cap.

Woodley, 26, has recorded double-digit sacks for three consecutive years in Pittsburgh.