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Teams Expressing Interest In Steelers Soon-To-Be Free Agent LB Jason Worilds At Combine


The annual NFL Scouting Combine is generally regarded as the unofficial start of free agency as that’s when agents and teams all congregate in one city for a week full of legal tampering. This week, one Pittsburgh Steelers soon-to-be free agent appears to be the talk of Indianapolis.

According to Tony Pauline of draftinsider.net, at least a dozen teams at this year’s combine have expressed “great interest” in Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds, if he is allowed to hit free agency in a little more than two weeks from now.

Worilds and Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo are considered by many to be the top two unrestricted free agents at their position come the start of the new league year. Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported Sunday night that talks between the Redskins and Orakpo’s representation are ongoing and we can only assume the Steelers are also talking with Worilds’ representation this week.

Worilds stated earlier in the offseason that he hopes to stay in Pittsburgh, but only if he’s promised a starting job.

The Steelers have the option of placing the franchise tag on Worilds, but general manager Kevin Colbert said prior to leaving for the combine that it is “doubtful” they will go that route.

Depending on where the final per team salary cap number comes in at, franchising Worilds would cost the Steelers roughly $11 million and it would also give the former second-round draft pick a ton of leverage when it comes to getting that number reduced for 2014 via a long-term deal. That just can’t happen.

If the Steelers are unable to get a new deal done with Worilds between now and the start of free agency, all it will take is for one of those reported 12 teams to overpay him for him to be gone. The Steelers aren’t going to get in a bidding war to keep him, nor should they.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • kakello34

    I’m starting to come to the realization that we may lose Worilds. Teams that have cap space already keep getting more as the cap number keeps going up.

  • Jason White

    Personally I don’t think they let him walk. They can’t afford 8-8 again and letting a player like Worilds go would be a horrible way to start off their quest to improve in 2014.

  • Rob

    If we do lose Woirlds that drafting an OLB becomes our priority in round 1?

  • Richie

    He’s as good as gone because he is the type of player that will cash it all in. Can’t say I blame him. He will test free agency and yes the Steelers would be wise to let him go.

  • grw1960

    Dave posted awhile back that Worilds minimum would be in the 8 million a year range. And it looks like the price is going up.
    …. Also I read somewhere that Worilds recently commented

    that the Steelers should have extended him last year……Not looking good for the Steelers chances at the moment

  • Shannon Stephenson

    This is coming from the players agent. I do believe he has had a lot of teams asking but that is probably to see where the approx. price is. Most teams will not be in the bidding IMO.

  • Superdriller316

    If the cap goes to 132 million, he’s gone. There are 20 teams out there that are 20+ million under the cap. All teams need to spend X amount of the cap in cash by, I think next year, so there will be a lot of over paid players out there. With more teams going to 3-4, they, like us need experienced players.

  • Geoff Cordner

    Am I wrong in thinking that prior to last year no one would have been too concerned about losing Worilds? Maybe I am alone here, but I believe that Woodley can be saved. Let Worilds walk and spend that cap money to bring in an experienced safety.

  • steeltown

    Get him locked up before the market opens, if they want to get better than 8-8 then they cant continue to lose young talent.

  • Richie

    I agree

  • T R

    Do what Steelers do.. make him a reasonable offer and if he take it good. if he dont, then its been real. Then OLB will be number 1 prior in the draft and getting Javis Jones more weight and ready to take the relm and Woodley. We need not get in cap issues over Worilds who only showed 3/4 a year of being good. Lotta folks out there that can rush passer when just gotta find the right ones and get them trained faster and signed.

  • treeher

    I agree, he had a good half year, yet people are acting as though the fate of the franchise lives and dies with him.

  • JT

    Not if Mack and Barr are gone.

  • Jason White

    When you have Lamarr Woodley who has been ineffective and unreliable the last few years and Jarvis Jones who still hasn’t proven he is ready to be a full time starter and no depth behind them you then have to make it a priority to keep your best outside linebacker from last year. And the success of the 2014 version of the Steelers defense very well does depend on resigning him

  • steeltown

    People are disregarding his 2012 season, he had very limited snaps that season yet still ended with 5sacks, one more than Woodley and one less than Harrison

  • Jason White

    Agreed. I thought Worilds really turned the corner in 2012. He showed consistency for the first time in his career. In 2013 he really took his play up a level. I actually think if he resigns with Pittsburgh he could be on pace for a pro bowl year.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    They can’t afford to keep him if other teams are actively bidding.

    Creating dead money to cut Woodley and then overpaying worlds to take his spot isn’t a very good idea.

  • Jason White

    I don’t think they are gonna have to overpay if they promise him a starting spot on the team that drafted him and they make him a good fair offer. Its best to lock him up long term before he becomes a free agent. I’d even go as far as franchise tagging him if need be. The increased cap number certainly allows that to happen a little easier. The franchise tag is a drastic measure and I know the Rooney’s and Colbert would prefer not to do that but I’m sure they certainly don’t want to go 8-8 again either.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    You think the answer for the steelers is to give jason worlds 7-8% of the salary cap?

    You need to get real. He is a solid olb, not a star.

  • Jason White

    No I am suggesting that if the Steelers don’t get above average production from the OLBs they will do no better than 8-8 in 2014. Jason Worilds is the best option for that. Since you are such an awesome GM how would you go about ensuring production from the OLBs?

  • Puretalent6

    Thank you! Finally someone who has been paying attention to football. Worilds has not been injury prone and did a fine job with limited snaps last year. He led the team in sacks right up until the last game of the season. Did I mention he had limited snaps. Lol!

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Worlds was here for consecutive 8-8 seasons. That indicates to me that you need more than what we had. This in turn indicates we can’t use all of our free money to stay the same.

    I would resign him for a reasonable deal but wouldn’t compete in any bidding wars. 5 per?

    We would probably have to keep woodley if worlds leaves but I would look at free agents.

    The bottom line is that we are a rebuilding team. We need to be getting rid of albatross contracts not signing them at this point.

  • Puretalent6

    You my friend are a smart man and I can tell you actually watch football. Some folks post comments without doing the proper research.

  • Jason White

    Look at it this way. Worilds was part of two consecutive 8-8 seasons but he was also one of the few reasons on defense that it wasn’t 6-10 or 5-11. You find ways to keep players like him and do away with the guys that help you have 8 losses per year.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    You’re going to give worlds 11 mil so we don’t have a losing record next year?

    Are you agent or family?

  • steeltown

    Well technically since early November, when Worilds became the full time LOLB the Team played very well and started stringing wins together, obviously there are a lot of factors at play here, but Worilds starting was one of them

  • Jason White

    No I said you try to lock him up long term and if absolutely necessary you might consider placing the franchise tag on him to give yourself the best chance for success in 2014 and hopefully beyond. Ben is gonna be 32, the clock is ticking on winning more superbowls. You can’t keep letting guys walk and hoping somebody else steps up.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I like worlds and would love to have him back on a reasonable deal.

    The idea that he is so good we resign him at any cost or franchise him is poorly considered at best.

  • steeltown

    Of course.. but it is going to take $7-8MIL per to do it, 5yrs $40MIL most likely. I’d rather pay that to him than pay Woodley about the same for the next 2-3yrs of service

  • Eric MacLaurin

    And I’m saying you try to resign him but stop short of the franchise tag or the amount of money it would cost to sign an elite FA.

    You have to be able to draw a line somewhere or you will never have a good team.

  • Luke Shabro

    I agree Geoff. I say let him walk. I believe Woodley could have a comeback season, as Troy did. Hopefully Jarvis grows this year, sign a reasonable free agent and draft two young OLBs to develop. The same people that are dying for us to sign Worilds will be blasting him just like Woodley when he is banged up again next year and/or the year after.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I cut woodly in almost any scenario.

    5-40 seems a little high to me in terms of value but I guess if it’s structured such that he has to play well to get most of the money I could go there.

    8 bonus followed by min salary in year one

    5-7-9-11in years 2-5?

  • T R

    well its not very hard to be injury prone when you do take limited snaps.. no question Worilds should be signed. but all i am saying is we should not do another woodley on him. pay him big, make him work horse OLB and then he fails us by getting hurt and we have no money left to find another. pay him reasonably and if he walks for more. then lets shed a tear and move on..

  • Luke Shabro

    Woodley has been very effective when playing, he has not been reliable. The same thing was said about Troy and he had a big bounce back year IMO

  • Rob

    He turned up his play in a contract year–how convenient… Woirlds just isn’t a star. The only reason to franchise him would be to trade him for draft picks.

  • steeltown

    Something like that, might take a slightly higher signing bonus to get him to sign…. and hopefully no restructuring down the road

  • Jason White

    Ironically 5 years 40 million has been the numbers in my head on Worilds.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    While I agree that it’s better to let him go than overpaying for yet another LB, the loss of Worilds would be a HUGE blow to this team, given the lack of experienced depth. This guys knows the system and is finally showing what he can do in it. Starting over…again and again…will not get this team into the postseason.

  • Superdriller316

    Are the Steelers willing to get into a bidding war for Worilds?

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Not likely. They tend to avoid bidding wars. Not their style.

  • Jollyrob68

    No they never do

  • Jason White

    Apparently you didn’t read Steeltown’s post that I was replying to. Worilds had a very productive year under limited snaps in 2012. He only built on that in 2013. Keenan Lewis was another guy who played well in his contract year. How’d that work out for him?

  • James Kling

    Gee, if only we had drafted an OLB last year to pair with Woodley…

  • James Kling

    I’d prefer to keep the younger Worilds over the overpaid Woodley, but that’s not happening. We need to hope Jarvis steps up in a big way, Woodley returns to his old productivity, and that the DL creates more opportunities for the OLBs.

  • Jason White

    Do you think the Steelers would have made an effort to retain Keenan Lewis if they knew Ike Taylor was gonna become the liability he was last year? I want Woodley to rebound as much as anyone but it could come with great cost. For one what if Jason Worilds is on the verge of an all pro type season? What if Lamarr Woodley doesn’t return to form? He has had the past two seasons and hasn’t done so. Worilds is performing and Woodley is not. At some point you have to move on.

    You certainly can’t afford to restructure Woodley’s contract again and he isn’t worth his cap number.

  • steeltown

    No, he was finally given the starting job full time.

  • Chad H

    I don’t see him being worth that much. I think we need him but I don’t think he has earned that kind of a payday. Some team will give him that money. If he had another full year of starting with 13 to 18 sack average then ok. This will be the hardest decision for the FO this year.

  • steeltown

    At his age, not yet 26yrs old, if he accumulated 13-18sacks in one season he’d easily be worth $10-12MIL per year. That’s just the way of the League today. We should be glad he only started 11games least season otherwise he presumably would have accumulated double digit sacks and be way out of our price range

    Its a similar situation as Paul Kruger after his solid ’12 season, so im sort of basing the contract numbers off of that

  • Chad H

    Four years not as a starter. 2 years with injuries. Production this year started when he moved to the left side. So what do the Steelers get moving forward? Do I think we will see more production from him and has he earned a starting job now? Yes, but with what I stated above would I break the bank on him no. Without him will the Steelers be in the hurt bag? Most definitely! To be honest I’m not a GM and I don’t know what he is worth but 7 to 8 million a year to me seems high and that’s based on his current production.

  • steeltown

    Well, would it be more ideal to pay him $5MIL per, yes. Is he worth $7-8MIL, potentially yes, if he continues to play like he did when actually named the starter in ’12 and ’13 he would be worth every penny

  • shawn

    I NEVER thought it was realistic that we were able to keep him by paying him the market rate which is at least 8mil if not more a year … the only way he stayed is if we signed him early to a discounted deal which i just dont see happening … it would be nice but why would he take a huge discount in his prime to stay … unfortunately i think his market rate is nowhere near what his true worth is …

    The Steelers really gambled badly on him this past year … with 5 sacks the year prior and knowing he was at least a competent back up they really should have signed him to a decent deal before hand … at worst you overpay him a bit to be a swing OLB and role player … and at best you get a steal … bad guess on the FO’s part … the 5 sacks told me he had potential and it was worth the gamble … sure he had his injuries but i really think it was just a matter of him getting continuous playing time much like Keenan Lewis which was another bad gamble

  • shawn

    Starting Spot ???? Where did this crazy line of thinking come from … he’s one of the top FAs on the market … of course any team including us that signs him will be with the intention to START !

  • Steve

    Worlds has been a backup with the Steelers. Makes no sense to Franchise him, a backup. Worlds did better on the left side and will not start unless Woodley is let go of, which IMO will not happen this year.

  • shawn

    Franchise Tag would be a HUGE mistake and going in the wrong direction with our cap woes … the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen … lets not take steps backwards

  • shawn

    5 would be great ..id go so much as 6 … but with the salary cap rising and the way teams over bid … no way do i see him taking less than 8 mil a year … if the FO could pull that one off at 5-6 mil i would be very impressed !

  • shawn

    i see it much the same way … one more solid year behind him … and yes he deserves that money as is i dont think so …

  • shawn

    Yes they should have extended him last year … that was a no brainer … really poor gamble by the FO

  • Steve

    Steelers did draft an OLB last year named Jarvis Jones.

  • shawn

    That is their only chance is to lock him up before the market opens offer him the 6 mil/yr back loaded and if he declines u let him walk … that is the best i think we can do .. if he hits the market he’s as good as gone !

  • shawn

    That is exactly why they should have extended him after that year … piss poor judgment by the FO in my opinion … much like CB KL

  • Steve

    When Pouncy went down it was like the sky was falling. FO brought in replacements and we went on. This is the same with Worlds. He was an OK OLB but never Great. Worlds had some good and bads as in everyone, so if he signs elsewhere, we go on. He is one player and not the team.

  • James Kling

    :sarchasm:

  • Axe Skot

    Without knowing what is going on in Worilds head, I can’t help thinking that he would prefer to stay and will as long as he is offered a fair contract, perhaps even somewhat below market value. I don’t think his increased production in 2013 was a fluke, just as I don’t think he is necessarily a plug and play OLB either. He seems to be the type that thrives under a certain routine and comfort level and it took him a while with the Steelers to get there. Put him on a team without a winning culture and stable defensive identity and I think he could disappear on the field.

  • nicolaisim

    TJ WARD! Dreaming about it every night..

  • Rob

    Well, we are going to be drafting another one because woodley can’t stay on the forks and we are losing woirlds–thankfully

  • Rob

    Oh no, I read it… I just remember Pittsburgh playing Timmons out of position rather than having woirlds on the field. I remember us trying to get Harrison to take a discount at first rather than giving the job to woirlds. I remember him losing the starting job to a rookie who only had 1 sack in 16 games during training camp. And lastly, I remember woirlds being a bust until the last 8 games of the season and whining that he could only rush from the one side… He hasn’t done anything to warrant what he wants to get paid.

    As for Keenan Lewis, that one hurt. I’m sure we would all like to have him now, especially because he would have been relatively cheap compared to woirlds.

  • Rob

    That’s debatable. I don’t really remember him doing anything when the game was on the line, certainly not in the same vein as Harrison or woodley. He was adequate, nothing special in my opinion. He looked good because everyone else looked so bad

  • Richard Edlin

    The Steelers (and a few other teams) seem to see the increase in cap number as a way of avoiding hard decisions this year; other teams see the opportunity to invest in their team. The yearly cap crunch also means that we’re not tying up some of our promising guys early … we then need to pay more to keep the veterans because we haven’t kept the backups, the team gets older and more expensive as a group, we can’t afford to keep moderate priced backups around … and so on, and so on.

  • WIINGY

    The Steelers can negotiate a contract with a low first year cap hit. Plenty of cap room next year. They can always let him go before he plays out the entire contract. It’s just a matter of guaranteed money.

  • WIINGY

    yeah, but how much guaranteed money.

  • WIINGY

    franchising him would be a terrible decision as it affects our cap greatly THIS year. Next year we can afford an $11 million cap hit. Not this year.

    The Steelers could structure a contract that would give him $20 million guaranteed around a $3 million cap hit this year.

  • steelster

    Let worilds walk. pick up a veteran free agency olb for less money. Trade our first round pick to the browns for the browns 2, 3 and 5th round picks. In the 2nd take a outside lb and corner. In the third take a wide receiver and nose tackle. It would be a start. Also realize the steelers may have to take a step back in order to get better and there is a stronger chance of them having a losing season next year than a winning won, I say so what, this team needs to think long term.

  • Nolrog

    No. We would still have two and we drafted one last year. Depth in the middle rounds, yes, but not another first round pick, especially with all the other needs on defense (MILB, NT, DE, C, S all ahead of OLB.)

  • blackandgoldBullion

    As far as great ideas go, I’m in! Been saying the same thing. The problem is finding a dance partner. The best bet would be to look for the notoriously stupid teams, as they are the most likely to fall in love with someone and give you the farm. You know, like Dallas or perhaps teams that have a boatload of picks and don’t know what to do with them.

    Cleveland last year? No way, as they were accumulating picks. this year? who knows. Let’s hope they can pull off something like this.

  • 2winz

    is it possible to trade JW before he becomes a free agent?

  • steelster

    hey, I just read through some of your posts and it’s nice to see someone that thinks beyond 2014. You know while everyone is grabbing wr in the first two rounds we can draft the other talent. Sometimes you have to do the opposite to be successful and not follow the herd mentality. However, if they do go wr/te in the first round I do like marquise lee and eric ebron because of the mismatches they create.

  • mike burnside

    Worilds played decent for 6-8 games. I’m not sold that we should break the bank for him. Make him a decent offer and let him decide. I don’t wanna strap a ton Of money to a guy who is virtually unproven.

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