On Thursday, Chris Wesseling and Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com released their top 101 NFL free agents for 2014 and two Pittsburgh Steelers made the list.
Outside linebacker Jason Worilds is ranked 18th overall by the duo and is the second-ranked linebacker on their list behind only Brian Orakpo, who they don’t believe will get away from the Washington Redskins.
Their summary on Worilds:
Finally trusted with a starting job, Worilds racked up seven sacks and 20 quarterback hits in the final eight games of the 2013 season. Was that a career turnaround or a contract push?
The only other Steelers player to make their top 101 is of course wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and they have him ranked 52nd overall. Sanders is the eighth ranked wide receiver on their list, but being as many feel that both Anquan Boldin and Golden Tate will be re-signed by their respective teams, that would leave the Steelers soon-to-be free agent ranked sixth overall at that position.
On Sanders they write:
He’s craftier than explosive. That might cause teams to see him as a slot receiver. New England showed interest last year.
So are there any names on their list that I think the Steelers might have interest in? How about Oakland Raiders soon-to-be free agent running back Rashad Jennings? First off, free agent running backs that are not every-down players should come fairly cheap and Jennings fits that mold. He posted a 4.5 yards per carry average and six touchdowns on 163 carries last season for the Raiders, and chipped in another 292 yards receiving via 36 receptions. He also blocked two punts and quite possibly could be an option as a kick returner.
Will the Raiders let Jennings get away? If so, how heavy will the competition be for his services? Jennings was paid a league minimum of $630,000 last season, so would a two-year, $2.75 million contract with $1.73 million guaranteed get him to come to Pittsburgh to be the backup to starter Le’Veon Bell? A contract like that would come with a first-year cap hit of $1.23 million and second-year cap charge of $1.52 million as there would be a $20,000 roster or workout bonus included with a second-year base salary of $1 million. The signing bonus of course would be $1 million. It’s something to definitely consider.
Now it’s your turn. Are there any other reasonable names that jump off their list that you think the Steelers would have interest in? Keep it reasonable.