Having placed the transition tag on left outside linebacker Jason Worilds last week, the Steelers informed Woodley of their plans to release him Tuesday, a person informed of the transaction told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the team's intention to release Woodley.
Woodley will be designated a post-June 1 cut, allowing the Steelers to spread the salary-cap hit over two years. Now the No. 1 outside linebacker on the open market, Woodley will be free to sign with another team at the start of free agency Tuesday.
After totaling 35 sacks from 2008-'10, Woodley managed just half that number over the past three seasons since signing his lucrative extension. Battling multiple hamstring injuries, Woodley was heavily criticized in Pittsburgh for failing to keep himself in football shape.
Still, the decision was hardly a no-brainer for the Steelers' brain trust. When healthy and motivated, Woodley stood with Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons as the premier talents on Dick LeBeau's defense.
An organization with few defensive building blocks is taking a sizable cap hit to cut loose a talented player with the potential to come back and haunt them by earning a Pro Bowl bid in another city.