Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, let\’s look ahead to what this means to starters LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds.
As far as Woodley goes, it means absolutely nothing. His contract was restructured again this offseason, and baring a serious injury, or another huge drop in production, he will remain in Pittsburgh at least through the 2014 season. For those of you that think cutting Woodley next offseason is a legitimate option, keep in mind that it will cost the Steelers over $14 million in dead money to do that.
The situation with Worilds is much different. Unless Jones really blows the doors off of the Steelers former second round draft pick in training camp, he will be hard pressed to see the field in 2013. That is not uncommon for defensive rookies and certainly shouldn\’t be expected. Worilds, however, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the drafting of Jones now makes it appear that he is a lame duck regardless of how good of season that he has.
Should Worilds blow up in his first year as a full-time starter, the Steelers would have the option of placing the franchise tag on him until a long-term deal could be worked out, but looking ahead to the 2014 salary cap situation, I don\’t really see that as a legitimate option this far out. remember, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is due an extension and center Maurkice Pouncey figures to be right behind him.
Perhaps the best way to look at this is that Worilds is now auditioning for free agency next offseason. It will be extra motivation for him to stay on the field and live up to his draft status. Should he be unable to do that, his market value will remain low and Jones will be expected to step in as the starter in 2014.