Woodley wrapped up the final year on his rookie contract that paid him $550,000 last season. The outside linebacker recorded 60 tackles, 13 sacks and two interceptions during the 2010 season and playoffs, which ended in a Super Bowl XLV loss to the Green Bay Packers.
By franchising the 2007 second-round pick, the Steelers agree to pay the average of the top salaries at his position in 2011. Pittsburgh, however, is expected to sign Woodley to a long-term deal.
The Steelers have until Feb. 23 to officially tag Woodley, but with a new collective bargaining agreement still being negotiated, there is a chance the franchise designation will cease to exist after the current CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. ET March 3.