Steelers LB Jason Worilds Ranked As The 18th Best Overall Free Agent By

On Thursday, Chris Wesseling and Gregg Rosenthal of 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.

  • Paddy

    They definitely should be interested in Jennings as their RBs are weak as a group and unsigned. If they can plug in two UFA’s from other teams that will help their dire depth

    They were 8-8 last season again and that was helped greatly by beating teams that were bad. I hope they get to 9-7 this year

  • Shannon Stephenson

    The funny thing with Worlids is that the guy has been unable to get on the field for his first 3 seasons due to injuries, couldn’t hold the starting spot at the beginning of last year, then because of Woodley getting injured he showed out for a half of season and now he is getting major money.

  • steeltown

    Hmm interesting.. Jennings would be a welcomed addition and could be had for relatively cheap.
    Im looking at some possible Safeties out there maybe Thomas Decoud or Mike Mitchell.. Mitchell would probably cost more and might be re-signed by CAR at CB there are some names of interest, one is Antoine Cason

  • steeltown

    Everyone keeps saying that but its simply not true. He played behind Woodley and Harrison the first 3yrs and though he had some early injury issues his first 2 seasons, he has only missed one game in the last 2yrs and had 5sacks in very limited snaps in 2012.. and 2013 well we all know how productive he was again on limited snaps

  • Steelers12328882

    I don’t understand all this talk about Worilds’ injury history. Maybe I missed something, but the guy has only missed 7 games in four years. He’s also had pro-bowlers in front of him since he was drafted, and I think the coaches are to blame for him not being on the field earlier. He clearly outperformed Jarvis Jones on the right, yet he was benched in favor of a rookie that had no clue what he was doing.

  • 243546

    Interesting. Rosenthal did a top 85 list last year, as opposed to top 101 (do a search for “top 85 free agents”). Looking at the two lists, there’s a couple of things that stand out.

    Paul Kruger was ranked #10 last year, and Keenan Lewis was ranked #19. Some of the names that separated the two were Jake Long, Sean Smith, Brent Grimes, Aqib Talib, Dannell Ellerbe, Chris Houston, and Antoine Winfield.

    Kruger was the highest ranked pass rusher (#1 LB), and Ellerbe was the #2 ranked LB. Micheal Bennett (#25) was the second ranked pass rusher.

    Worilds is the 6th ranked pass rusher, and #2 ranked LB.

    Kruger got a 5 year/$60M contract (average $8.1M/year), with a $6M signing bonus, $20M guaranteed, and a first year cap number of $8.2M

    Ellerbe got a 5 year/$34M contract (average $6.9M/year), with a $7M signing bonus, $14M guaranteed, and a first year cap number of $2.4M

    Bennett got a 1 year/$4.8M contract.

    Not sure what all that means, but it looks like Worilds agent can make the case that Worilds should get a contract that averages somewhere between $7M-$8M per year, and guarantees him $14M-$20M over the first two years (Kruger and Ellerbe both are guaranteed their first two years salary, which counts towards their guaranteed money number).

    Let’s say it takes $20M over the first two years to keep Worilds. A 5 year contract with a $10M signing bonus, $2M year 1 salary, and guaranteed $8M year 2 salary would get them there. That would be a $4M cap number in 2014, and a $10M cap number in 2015.

  • 243546

    Exactly. Woodley and Harrison didn’t have to worry about competing for their jobs.

  • steeltown

    Im pretty you mean Kruger got a 5yr $40.5MIL deal, his other numbers are correct

  • Steelers12328882

    I like our RBs and I think Dwyer could be resigned for cheap. A change of pace back would be welcomed in the draft or we could resign LSH, but I’d much rather grab someone like De’Anthony Thomas in the 6th round.

  • steeltown

    How about Bell, Jennings, Dwyer and LSH/ or late draft pick change of pace guy

  • 243546

    It’s something that the pro-Woodley likes to say to detract from Woodley’s injury history.

    Worilds has played more snaps than Woodley over the past two years. Woodley has missed 8 games, and recorded 9 sacks over the past 2 seasons. Worilds has missed 1 game, and recorded 13 sacks over the past 2 seasons.

  • 243546

    Yup. Thanks for the correction!

  • 243546

    I think they will draft a RB this year. The depth at WR and DB should push a lot of the RB’s into later rounds. That might explain why the Steelers met with the RB from AZ at the combine. They may think they will have a shot at him once the comp picks kick in.

  • dennisdoubleday

    I don’t understand all the optimism about signing Jennings. He played BETTER than Bell last year. He was a monster and took the starting job away from DMC. Why on earth would he accept a cheap deal as a backup?

  • dkoy85

    This comment drives me crazier than just about any. I severely dislike the fact Worild’s is labeled as always injured and he couldn’t win the starting roll over Woodley and Harrison- at that time there were probably only 2 or 3 players in the NFL that could do it. Hey guess what?! He won the starting roll over Woodley last year. I think Worilds will justify his pay. Don’t fall into the uneducated Shannon.

  • dkoy85

    Because that is what he is- a backup. His numbers are not starter numbers. Bell didn’t start untill week 4 so DO NOT compare him to Bell. Whos going to pay him starter money?

  • Bill Sechrengost

    There were quite a few safeties listed there. It would be nice to have some veteran depth at the position if they are not going to have Ryan Clark back or Will Allen. With Troy’s injury history, even if they draft a safety high, it would seem they will should have someone else with NFL experience to play safety.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Worilds proved his worth last year whether folks want to believe that this was a truly indicative performance or more of a contract play. We need his speed and strength on the outside. Lamarr just can’t stay healthy and that’s a darned shame because when he was fit, he dominated. He’s also getting on in age (in NFL years). What kind of signal does it send to other guys that bide their time behind vets only to be shown no love when it’s their time up. JW deserves an opportunity to start and step up as the #1 OLB. Let’s hope that the front office makes a fair offer and doesn’t lose another young gun.

  • steeltown

    Im not sure Carey falls to the back end of the 3rd Rd, but your point is valid.. there will be a lot of (not talked about) talent at RB between the 4th and 7th Rds

  • Shannon Stephenson

    it is true that he wasnt going to see much playing time because of who was in front of him so that was a over statement by me but when he needed to be on the field…ala spring training… he was consistantly injured or dinged up which stunted his growth.

  • steeltown

    True.. he did struggle with injury his first 2yrs

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Regardless of why he did not see the field he has only looked good in a handful of games. I feel he is an important resign this year and that we need him badly. My point was just being the guy had not started for 3.5 years and because of a few good games he will make bank, it was not saying that I do like the kid or think we should not sign him just the fact that he will make big money from such a small window of success.

  • cencalsteeler

    Not so sure he took the job from McFadden. He was injured.

  • Luke Shabro

    I like the sound of a backfield group of Bell, Dwyer and Rashad Jennings plus a late round rookie

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I know the Raiders have prioritized re-signing Jennings and they will be offering him the starting gig, so I think he will be tough to get.

    As for Worilds, my question is do you think this guy is good enough to be one of the top 4 or 5 players on a top team, because that is what you are committing to when you get up near $8M/year. I think he will be a good player, but I’m not ready to see him be one of the top paid players on the team. I think if he had that sort of stand out talent, there would have been more buzz about him over the years, rather than the uncertainty going in to this season that had most guessing that he would wash out after his rookie contract.

  • Matt Manzo

    I don’t wanna pay 10mil for Worilds.

  • harding36

    The two free agents on this list that I’m interested in are Paul Soliai, NT for the Dolphins and Kendrick Lewis, Safety for the Chiefs.
    Soliai would be an upgrade over McLendon at NT, and would allow McClendon to compete at DE with Al Woods. I think a D-line of Heyward, Soliai and McCLendon/Woods would be strong. Who ever didn’t start between McClendon and Woods could serve as the primary backup at NT and DE. I’m pretty much over Ziggy Hood, by the way.
    Kendrick Lewis looked really good at times for the Chiefs last year (he should be ranked higher on this list actually). He’s in his fourth or fifth season, but he’s only 25. He’s a natural free safety and would start from day 1, I think. This signing would also allow us to focus on CB or WR in the first two rounds of the draft.

  • srdan

    I think he showed enough to make me believe he can be that. At his age and lack of miles over the last few years, I would bet htat he would be a top 4 player on any team with a franchise QB.

    Applying your logic, do we expect 56 to be that player again? Was he ever? And even if he becomes that again, how many years does he have in the tank.

    I like your point of view.

  • SFIC

    I think this might be the year that the Steelers step it up a bit in FA. I might be one of the few here who support the Steeler’s philosophy to be cautious in FA…be patient …because the only real winners are the top FA players who get inflated contracts, most of whom are not worthy of them.
    I don’t think they will go after any of the top FA’s, but wouldn’t be surprised if they go after a solid player or two.

  • 243546

    To much debate about whether the Steelers should sign Worilds or not. That’s irrelevant at this point, because we know the team wants him back. AR2 named Worilds as the teams priority this off-season. What ever questions or concerns we have regarding Worilds, it would appear the the team doesn’t share them. I doubt that any member of the FO would be as candid about there intention to re-sign him, if they weren’t at least willing to offer a respectable sized contract. The only question right now is how much is Jason Worilds looking to make. Even if the Steelers are willing to pay good money for him, I’m sure they have a limit. Also, if there is really such high demand for his services, there’s the possibility of using the franchise tag. That would get the rest of the teams out of the equation, and give the Steelers the full off-season to continue working out a deal.

  • Don Lowery


  • steelster

    I know it’s only one game but didn’t the chiefs get tourched for 45 points in the playoffs.

  • RW

    How about McCluster and Woodyard? Two needs. Don’t know how expensive they’d be, but McCluster would be well worth it. A few good safeties in there, too.

  • Chad H

    Peppers, Allen and Woodley were the top 3 sack leaders for a 3 year period. Was he ever? The guy was a beast. Do you know what you are talkin about?

  • srdan

    Please don’t post on friday nights while drinking.

    Woodley got top 3 once in his career and that was in 2009(tied for third). The most sacks he ever had was 13.5 in his career. A good player, but not a beast. That is a term I reserve for players like Joey and Harrison.

  • dennisdoubleday

    Woodley has higher sacks/game rate than either.

  • srdan

    He does. Do you think he was ever as impactful as either? I don’t.

    Sacks per game is a tricky nber that can reward players that don’t play a lot. Woodley also plays vs right tackles.

  • Will Hammer

    Wouldn’t over pay for Worilds . If he gets a home run offer let him go .

  • Chad H

    I work evenings so sorry no drinking. If you are going to post base it on facts. The guy was a beast. Why do you think he was paid the amount he was. I am frustrated with his injuries but to say he was nothing his entire career is wrong. A healthy Woodley is a better pass rusher than Worilds. You need to take off the beer goggles and give credit where it is deserved.

  • srdan

    I’m confused.

    I quoted you facts because your peppers/Allen fact was wrong.

    We’re in the same boat. Both frustrated with 56. But the reason I want wirldis over him is because They are not the same age. If they were the same age I would still worry about 56 health due to him not returning to play following injuries. They nag him, ala gronkowsji.

    Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve seen Woodley play well. But I think 93s play last year was as good as I have seen at olb since Harrison’s MVP year.


    I like Lindval Joseph.