Steelers Take Odd Turn With Jason Worilds
The Steelers on have one outside linebacker currently signed through 2015 – Jarvis Jones and his rookie contract.
The team could have locked up the other side of the edge starting February 16th, but according to Scott Brown of ESPN, a league source told ESPN that the Steelers will let Jason Worilds test the free market agency.
That’s right. The team decided to forego the franchise/transition tag but also decided to pass on any long term deal.
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Come March 10th after 4pm, Worilds, like many other free agents, will be allowed to sign with the team of his choosing with no restrictions.
It’s an odd twist between these two sides. By slapping a transition tag on Worilds in 2014, the Steelers paid almost $10 million for 7.5 sacks and one interception. They had the option to do it once again or sign him to a long term deal.
By all accounts, Worilds wanted to stay in Pittsburgh. By all accounts, the Steelers still like Worilds and felt he had a high ceiling yet to be reached. By all accounts, the Steelers don’t have many options at outside linebacker behind Worilds and Jones and would appear forced to keep Worilds.
Even odder still, the Steelers just freed up salary cap money earlier on Wednesday by restructuring the contracts of Marcus Gilbert and Mike Mitchell.
She’s a cruel cruel wench and will make you do crazy things that free agency will.
Did Worilds want too much money? We don’t even know if the two sides were talking up to this point. Would he have really expected to get offered more than $9 million even though he is one of the more attractive pass rushers in free agency?
Time to roll the dice in free agency….
So what does it mean? Well, the Steelers could either get extremely lucky and get a cheaper Worilds, or the Steelers will have more work to do in the draft than we expected.
What seems obvious now – and boy it seemed obvious they should have signed Worilds – is that they will need to sign Arthur Moats. Moats did fairly well, and if former linebackers coach and new defensive coordinator Keith Butler liked Moats, he should be back.
James Harrison? Might just get an offer now. Not because he would line up on Worilds side, but that he can back up/relieve Jones and allow the Steelers to concentrate solely on the left side in the draft.
It’s an odd turn and rather unexpected. Sure, we’ve speculated letting Worilds walk. I just don’t think I would have ever seen it happen. Colbert is either really smart, or is about to make another free agency blunder.
Next: Should Steelers draft or sign a free agent RB in 2015?