- Since the advent of free agency, the Steelers MO has been simple: Resign their own players before they reach the open market.
The system of course wasn’t fool proof. The Steelers limited revenues from Three Rivers Stadium forced Dan Rooney, Bill Cowher, and Tom Donahoe to be far more choose than Cowher, Art Rooney II, Kevin Colbert, and Mike Tomlin have had to be thanks to Heinz Field.
- But there’s a rub to the system.
In contrast, Keenan Lewis didn’t blossom until his 4th year. There were signs of it in year 3, but nothing that would have justified a long-term commitment. By the time it was clear, Lewis’value and the Steelers salary cap struggles made deal impossible.
The Steelers were facing a similar situation with Jason Worlids, and in doing so they used one of the “weapons” at their disposal – they placed the transition tag on him, which guarantees Worlids 9 million in change and gives the Steelers the right of first refusal to any contract he signs.
The next questions is, now what?
Capsule Profile of Jason Worilds with the Steelers
The Steelers picked Jason Worilds in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft, passing on Sean Lee among others. And for much of the time since then, commentators have criticized them for the move.
Worlds first season was spent largely on special teams, although he did get into the Miami “fumble” game and recorded his first sack. Worlids first significant playing time came in 2012, when LaMarr Woodley injured his hamstring and James Harrison was recovering for an orbital fracture. Worlids did manage 3 sacks, but struggled against the run.
In 2012 Worilds was limited by a wrist injury, but despite that and despite only starting 3 games, he led the team in sacks with 5 after the first month or so. However, he failed to add to that total.
- During 2013 Worilds had a breakout year. Or at least half of a breakout year.
The Case for Resigning Jason Worilds
The use of the transition tag does not ensure that Worlids remains a Steeler. Transition players do get signed, and a team that really wants Worilds could easily design a deal that is hard for them to match.
- But that’s not likely to happen.
The Case for Letting Worilds Walk
Jason Worilds is still free to negotiate with other NFL teams. That may not happen but given the scarcity of pass rushers on the free agent market, Worilds phone just may ring.
If that happens then the Steelers will have a decision to make.
Ultimately their decision will come down to how much they, and not some other team thinks that Worilds is worth. In this sense, they’ve given themselves some flexibility.
Curtain’s Call on the Jason Worilds
The Steelers have made their fist major decision in Free Agency. When it comes to Jason Worilds vs. LaMarr Woodley, they’re choosing Worilds.
- Yet, they’re not quite willing to jump in the pool with both feet.
They made Starks their transition player and he started the season as the NFL’s highest paid non-starting tackle. While many mocked the move, Starks saved the season that ultimately ended at Super Bowl XLIII.
- Its unlikely that Worilds will meet the same fate.
- However, the Steelers have given themselves some room to play, and to some extend some leverage.
If no offers come, then they can still sign Worilds to a long term, more cap friendly deal. They’d of course need to offer him 9 million and change in the form of a bonus and probably a little more, and Worilds might be more inclined to stay if he feels wanted.
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