We’re finishing up the free agent spotlights of linebackers with the one we’ve all been waiting for. Jason Worilds will become an unrestricted free agent on March 11th, if the Steelers haven’t re-signed him to a long-term deal by then.
Jason Worilds was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Steelers out of Virginia Tech. He assumed the position at ROLB left vacant by James Harrison at the start of the 2013 season and very much had a breakout year. His biggest contributions to the team actually came when he was moved over to LOLB, taking over for LaMarr Woodley. In 2013 he recorded 63 tackles, 8 sacks, and two forced fumbles, by far the best numbers of his career.
So what do the Steelers do here? Well, he’s basically the ideal scenario for the Steelers system when you stop and think about it. He was drafted high and then grew with the system and his position and now is in need of his efforts to be valued and rewarded by the Steelers with a long-term deal. It should be easy but the situation gets complicated by the fact that the Steelers are already over the 2014 salary cap and Worilds flat-out outplayed Woodley, who the Steelers are in a salary cap/contract predicament with at the moment. Many people think that Worilds’ situation is tied to Woodley and that’s probably right considering the fact that Worilds deserves to start and is going to command a starter’s salary. You’re not going to re-sign him to sit him behind Woodley, and you’re not going to move him back to the right side because you just drafted Jarvis Jones last year and it makes no sense to sit him on the bench.
The most ideal situation would be is that the Steelers get themselves down under the cap through restructures and extensions with their existing contracts and find a way to secure Worilds to a long-term deal before he’s able to hit the free agency market. Whether that’s what’s going to happen though, is still up in the air.
What are your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Do you think Jason Worilds remains a Steeler?