Jason Worilds (OLB), Al Woods (DE/NT), Jerricho Cotchery (WR), Jonathan Dwyer (RB), Fernando Velasco (C/OG), Greg Warren (LS) and Mat McBriar (P)
The Steelers must find a way to bring back Jason Worilds. Their sack leader from the 2013 campaign finally emerged as the pass-rushing threat many had hoped he would become when he was selected in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Signing Worilds should be of the utmost importance for Pittsburgh’s brass, especially since it would allow them to finally release LaMarr ‘Mr. Stay Puft’ Woodley.
I would also like to see the Steelers try to ink Al Woods to another deal as well. Woods has fought his way into the defensive line rotation over the last two seasons, and his versatility should make him a fixture in the trenches for an extended period of time.
Veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery also deserves a new deal as well. Cotchery led Pittsburgh in touchdown receptions in 2013 with 10, and he also collected 46 catches and 602 receiving yards to boot. A sure-handed and reliable pass-catcher, Cotchery could be just the type of inexpensive yet effective player the Steelers extend during the upcoming offseason.
As long as he is fully recovered from his Achilles injury, I would love to see the Steelers ink Fernando Velasco to a new deal for depth purposes. The veteran proved to be a reliable stop-gap at the center position this fall after Maurkice Pouncey went down with his knee injury in Week 1. Velasco started 11 games for Pittsburgh before he went down in the waning minutes of the team’s Thanksgiving loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Like Velasco, I would love to see the Steelers bring back Jonathan Dwyer for depth purposes as well. Even though he was released by the Steelers after preseason play, Dwyer emerged as a reliable short-yardage back this fall behind Le’Veon Bell. Dwyer’s work on special teams and his ability to spell Bell could make him someone the Steelers elect to extend this spring.
Long snapper Greg Warren has been a rock for the Steelers since he entered the league in 2005, and Mat McBriar at least deserves another shot to compete for the starting role as a punter in 2014. Both can be inked to relatively cheap deals, so it would benefit Pittsburgh to have both players return next year.