Categorized | Article, Free Agents

Would A Five-Year, $35 Million Contract Really Keep Steelers LB Jason Worilds In Pittsburgh?


The 2014 free agency signing period begins two weeks from today and the buzz surrounding Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds appears to be picking up more steam.

A few days ago, Tony Pauline of draftinsider.net reported that at leased a dozen teams have expressed interest in Worilds while at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, an event that many believe to be the unofficial start of free agency thanks to the legal tampering that goes on there.

So what’s Worilds market value? According to Adam Caplan of ESPN, it’s an average per year of $6-$7 million.

Caplan’s numbers are very believable. Prior to the end of the 2013 season I took a look at Worilds’ potential market value compared to free agent signings from last offseason and it’s easy to see where he might come in at this offseason.

Taking Caplan’s high end of $7 million average per year, that would result in a five-year, $35 million contract for Worilds. So how much guaranteed money would Worilds get if the above projection winds up holding up?

The Cleveland Browns gave Paul Kruger a five-year, $40.5 million contract last offseason and in that $20 million was guaranteed. While they only gave him a $6 million signing bonus, they did give him a first-year roster bonus of $6.285 million and also guaranteed his 2013 and 2014 base salaries. That resulted in Kruger averaging $10 million over the first two years of his new deal.

So will Worilds want $17 million guaranteed with an average yearly value of $8.5 million over the first two years? It’s very possible and it’s conceivable that a team will be willing to pay him that. Some might even view it as a bargain.

If the Steelers were to give Worilds a deal based on the above parameters, they would likely have to give him a $10 million signing bonus, a first-year guaranteed base salary of $1 million and a second-year guaranteed base salary of $6 million. The final three years worth of base salaries would just be window dressing to total out the deal at $35 million.

Based on the parameters above, Worilds’ 2014 cap charge would be just $3 million with his 2015 cap charge coming in at $8 million. Over the life of the deal, assuming it’s never restructured, his yearly cap hit would likely never exceed $9 million.

After the 2016 season, the Steelers could cut Worilds with only $4 million in dead money left to absorb. If made a post June 1st cut following that third year of his deal, that $4 million would then be charged of as $2 million each in 2017 and 2018.

So, would you give Worilds a deal as described above? Would that deal be enough to retain him? Keep in mind that it only takes one team to overpay.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    Just get him back. ASAP

  • grw1960

    At that price sign him if you can. …But I suspect some team will offer him more.

  • dkoy85

    I’d be happy with that, especially if he performs as well as he did last year. Just hope another team doesn’t want to pay him like Kruger, or more. They need to sign him- what we CAN’T afford is for us to lose another young player coming off their rookie contract.

  • shawn

    Unfortunately I think Caplan is lowballing his market value at 6-7 mil … with the cap set to go up as it is and a lot of teams with tons of money and there being ONLY 2 top OLBs …i would confidently say that 8 mil is more like his market value … i would definitely be all in for offering him 5yr/33 mil … Heavily backloaded …

    I think he would stay for those numbers, but it really depends if he is all about the money … need to offer it quick before the signing period begins

  • steeltown

    The whole Woodley situation is just plain frustrating.. this really wouldn’t be an issue if he could just stay healthy.

    I would offer Worilds $7MIL per season, but I bet he’d get more on the open market. I guess it depends on the guaranteed money and whether he wants to stay in Pittsburgh

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I wouldn’t sign him for that. Do you really want Worilds to be 1 of the top 4 or 5 paid guys on your team?

    I would look for a veteran hitting the secondary market or I would look to give Woodley a big pay cut (with incentives) and draft someone.

  • RW

    Yes.

  • SteelersDepot

    Heavily back loaded? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and
    numbers and guaranteed money of such a contract. Please post them ASAP.

  • JayBirdDC

    I’d sign him for that.

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    I think they will have to sign him if they reasonably can but I can’t help but still worry about him.
    He played great…. For half a season in a contract year….
    how can we forget he stayed hurt in various (possibly) mild ways until it came contract time.
    I think he has the ability to make those money numbers reasonable, but I fear his dedication after he gets his payday.

  • steeltown

    He played all 16 games in 2012 and only missed one in 2013.. he has basically been the healthiest LB we have besides Timmons

  • Addison

    I got a feeling we’ll be beating the dead calf this year.

  • Addison

    Hey Dave do you think what we saw last year was Worilds ceiling or do you think it could be higher.

  • sean mcmartin

    If he leaves , hopefully won’t stay in AFC north.

  • SteelersDepot

    Is he a 15 sack guy? No, I would be surprised if he was. Is he a 10-12 sack guy? Possible. While he has shown improvement against the run, he needs to get better. I, however, would be afraid to pay him more than the potential deal described in the post. To me, that has the right balance of risk/reward. I have a feeling now there might be a team out there willing to pay more. We won’t have long to wait until we find out.

  • pat

    Im ok if Worilds leaves I think Woodley has something to prove and will be in the running of DOPY

  • dgh57

    I’m not totally sold on Worilds but at the same time I realize the problems of NOT resigning him would cause. The need of drafting a OLB suddenly gets pushed up the draft board and no chance of cutting ties with Woodley. It’s a tough decision for the FO to make that’s for sure!

  • steeltown

    Defensive outpatient of the Year?
    …sorry couldn’t resist

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yes. Hopefully he wants to stay in Pittsburgh and figures that money will set him up for life, so he takes it and does not even wait. Of course, his agent would tell him to test the market as you might get lucky and get $10 million more. And some desperate team with loads of cash can easily do that.

  • dkoy85

    I hope you’re right because Worilds leaving is a very real possibility if he’s after the money.

  • Jeff

    Based on what Paul Kruger got last year, and with the fact that the salary cap has increased, I think at least someone would offer more than 5/35…. I hope I’m wrong. I want him in black and gold next year.

  • Alan Felicia

    IMO, Worilds will test the market and try to make the same (or better) deal as Kruger’s.
    With that said, I think this is a fair offer for Worilds.

  • srdan

    He is an emerging star looking for a job in a year that all firms got a few extra bucks to use towards salary. Unless he really likes Pirmantis coleslaw, it’s going to be a tough sell.

  • James Kling

    This has a certain element of deja vu: will this be the Keenan Lewis situation all over again? I’d have to look at where such a deal would leave us WRT cap space and what FAs might be around, but it almost seems moot since other teams will have more available cash to float. So I expect him to leave, and hope Woodley can return to form, and Jarvis can make some big strides. A lot of “ifs” to that, but so it goes.

    Bright side: 2015 comp. Yay.

  • Alan Felicia

    Amen!

  • srdan

    What is the hit for the franchise tag? It almost makes sense to hit him with it to wait out this year where all teams got extra money. 7-8m can’t be that far off the tag. Can the tag be assigned after june first, or we can’t get any of the 56 money towards it?

  • Richie

    Not worth anything close to that, let him go and cut Woodley too This will be a rebuilding the defense year.

  • Addison

    Thanks, I think you’re very much right about him.

  • shawn

    u know the deal … lower the cap hits the first years … doesnt see the money the last year .. much like Ike now

  • WilliamSekinger

    You should realize, that contract negotiations are a two way street. A player in the NFL given the choice between two 5 year 35 million deals: The first deal has 17 Mil in guarantees, and large signing and 1st year roster bonuses. The second is heavily back loaded giving the player very little until year 3 through 5. Guess which deal the player is signing?
    If you wanted to guarantee the player doesn’t take your offer…then backload it.

  • dkoy85

    And then???

  • 243546

    When you break it down like that, it almost seems like a no brainer. Sign the guy

  • 243546

    If you think it’s a number that he will be satisfied with, you offer him the contract now, so no one else gets the opportunity to offer him more.

  • 243546

    The Woodley situation also wouldn’t be an issue if his contract wasn’t restructured so many times.

  • pat

    I think the FO is looking at is as Woodley will be on the team to much to release so i dont think we will offer Worilds much I believe we draft an olb in the 1st 3 rounds and see what Woodley does this yr an perhaps if he under performs then part ways next yr when the dead money ain’t as much by then we will have Jarvis and a 2nd yr man starting im ok with that.
    Just hoping we dont look at the Lewis situation and think we cant let it happen again and over pay for Worilds

  • lefnor

    2013 contracts for LOLBs:
    Rob Ninkovich 5M/3 yr
    Elvis Dumervil 5,2M/5 yr
    Connor Barwin 6M/6 yr
    Ahmad Brooks 6,16M/6 yr
    Earlier for a LDE:
    Cameron Wake 6,9M/5 yr

    The OLB supply in the FA market is not too big but a 7 million contract is too much for a player who has only a good half season and not even a blindside pass rusher.
    Lets force a Woodley paycut, draft someone in the middle rounds and collect a 4th round compensatory pick in 2015 for Worilds.
    Or manage somehow a tag-trade combination thanks to the increased cap.

  • Alan Felicia

    Franchise tender for LBs is over $11 Million. That’s bit high to offer Worilds.

  • shawn

    the key words you used is “Between two deals” obviously we would have to offer him this with “NOTHING” else on the table before he hits FA … maybe i was a little excessive on the “heavily” part … but what i was trying to say … lets offer him a deal that averages the 7 mil for the contract but the first few years is more in the line of 5-6 mil … Dave is the cap/contract guru supposedly … not going to spend the time to run the numbers … but no matter what we do we aren’t going to be able to come close to what other teams will offer him in FA … thats just the way it is … and lets start to get away from the dead money deals … and start being a little more sound financially so we tend to stay away from cap hell again.

    if we are betting on him with a big contract I DONT want to be looking at cutting him after the 2016 season and absorbing dead money for the following 2 years… i dont think that is the prudent way to go about it !!

  • srdan

    i agree. Not ideal

  • shawn

    if he goes in FA he WILL be offered 8mil+/yr … take that to the bank

  • srdan

    You are beating a dead horse.

  • NW86

    What incentive would he have to sign it now? He will at least wait until free agency to see if he can put teams into a bidding war and drive the price up a bit. There is nothing for him to gain by taking himself off the market now.

  • Matt Manzo

    What did James Harrison’s first big contract look like? And what was his production like before that? For some reason I don’t wanna give Worilds all that money. His numbers might be good but I don’t see that Steelers LB look in him?

  • NW86

    Zing! LOL

  • 20Stoney

    I think they might have to consider it, even though as you say it’s definitely not ideal. I have a feeling that he’s not going to be overly inclined to give a hometown discount because they pretty much handed that starting job to Jones. Put yourself in his position…..

  • shawn

    No 2 ways about it … he will get multiple offers that we won’t come close to being able to match … like i said before this is a NO WIN situation, only way we come out ahead is he takes a lesser deal to stay in Pitt without hitting the market, which i just dont see happening, but crazier things have happened.

    Lesson to be learned is FO needs to get better at gambling on 1st contract players … to me his 5 sacks in limited playing time in 2012 showed he deserved an extension which would have been for more than a reasonable amount of $$

  • 20Stoney

    Start Chris Carter. Next man up!

  • pat

    Im really thinking let worilds go bring Harrison back think Bengals release him

  • Alan Felicia

    Harrison first big contract was 6 years, $51.75 Million (I don’t have details on how much guaranteed) in 2009 after being named 2008 Defensive Player of the Year. He became a starter in 2007 (Tomlin’s first year and cutting ties with Joey Porter) with 98 tackles (total), 8.5 sacks, 7 FF, and INT. In 2008, 101 tackles, 16 sacks, 7 FF, a safety, and INT.

  • srdan

    I like primantis coleslaw. Lol

    Yeah I agree. If Colbert wants to get younger it will cost us

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m starting to agree. But now I have to start scouting mid round LBs! Who do u suggest? I see a couple scenarios: a sick OLB falls to us the first, we can still go CB and S in 2 and 3, WR in 4. Or a trade down in 1st for an extra 2nd or 3rd rounder and we go CB, S,WR and OLB, in any order. Preferably CB top priority.

  • grw1960

    Also though it isn’t suppose to happen before the deadline and nothing is signed. …
    Every team at the combine has talked money with free agents who were there. So if a team has told Worilds a bigger number. Worilds isn’t going to sign early with the Steelers. Maybe after the beginning of FA if teams who made offers don’t put it on paper in a way Worilds likes.

  • Alan Felicia

    If Pittsburgh is going to offer $8M +, would rather them go after Orakpo. At least he’s consistent.

  • Alan Felicia

    Oh, Harrison will be back with Pittsburgh. He’ll do what Joey Porter did, sign a one day contract and Retire!
    Sorry to say, Harrison is done!

  • Matt Manzo

    I guess 7 mil isn’t too much then? I just don’t see the killer instinct in him. I hope I’m wrong. I don’t wanna go into the season with just Jones and Woodley, and I also don’t wanna be stuck with another high paid LB that’s just average.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Elvis at 5.2? Hmmmm.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    If we does and I do think we will, let him walk… We should discuss the possibly of switching to different scheme. Jarvis Jones proved he’s a 4-3 OLB, not a 3-4 pass-rusher. Timmons, Vince Williams, Ziggy Hood, and Steve McLendon all are better suited up for 4-3 with Cameron Heyward being the versatile (fits both) and Lamarr Woodley as the only guy who doesn’t fit in…

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Wow! I keep saying we were spoiled by Harrison. I mean he often gave up 80 lbs on the LT and still would wreak havoc all day long. How the hell was he so strong? I remember all those FF’s. I remember the QB’s twitching– they were so scared that Harrison would be there in the next second! He certainly earned his money.

  • WilliamSekinger

    All that sounds good in theory, but with 2 weeks left before FA begins, Worilds would be a fool to commit to any deal right now unless it was over the top excessive. He’ll wait until FA starts and let things fall where they will.

  • pat

    Harrison dont need to be a starter Jarvis will start he didnt fit what the Bengals do I think he can give us 1 more yr at a cheap salary as a vet who knows the system

  • pat

    Im hoping we trade back unless someone great does fall to 15 as far as LB go I dont know of any to draft im thinking we could bring Harrison back if released to be a quality vet back up for the yr but CB definitely needs to be addressed more than any position IMO

  • shawn

    I completely agree … thats what I’m saying … but i do believe they will try n lock him up before FA hits … thats what people were saying that he might sign before he tests the market … i know i would wait unless i wanted to stay in Pitt no matter what or they offered a very competitive deal … neither i think will happen

  • shawn

    i def dont want us to pay that … 5-6 mil is all he’s worth .. would he accept that to stay in Pitt … i doubted and if we wait too long to offer him he will surely test FA and with multiple big offers he’s as good as gone

  • shawn

    please no … please tell me he isn’t invited back … damn that last pre season game saved his but last year

  • shawn

    i think it was a deal cuz wasn’t that the guy they messed up the contract with the fax ?

  • shawn

    Harrison was ridiculous … i swear the Tackles were holding him nearly like every play and he rarely got the call !!

  • ATL96STEELER

    Aside from maybe M. Wallace, most players seem to really like playing for the Steelers organization. The ones that have left recently as FAs were simply offer a LOT more money.

    If the guaranteed money is close to Kruger’s I think the chances are pretty good he stays.

  • pat

    Unfortunately I believe Worilds will be over payed he hasnt done anything until this yr and really only got going the 2nd half remember he was benched for Jarvis I just hope we are not the team to over pay

  • pat

    Cutting Woodley hurts the team more than him staying so im saying bye to Worilds , unless he takes a cheap deal, Im thinking Harrison will be a FA that we can bring in as a quality vet back up

  • Matt Manzo

    If we can’t score an OLB in the draft I’d love to have Harrison showing Jones the rope. He’d have Porter and Harrison in his corner! That’s exactly what we need. If he can’t make it work with that kinda influence move him to ILB.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    I’m so glad people posting on this forum aren’t GMs because we’d be in mediocrity many times over from these questionable decisions.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I do not think Wallace didnt like playing for the Steelers…he just liked money more.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Its sounds like the going price to me.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Let him walk…his body of work is too slim to overpay for the guy.

  • Douglas Andrews

    If Worilds signs a heavily backloaded contract anywhere he needs his head examined. That would be nutrageous!

  • Douglas Andrews

    As frustrating as it is I been thinking about this scenario. Cut Woodley with June !st designation Resign Worilds draft 2 OLB and sign a quality FA. It’s a major gamble because at the moment we only have C Carter for depth but Woodley has almost missed an entire season (14 games) with nagging injuries over the past 3 seasons. Steelers can’t count on Woodley being healthy this season he’s got some chronic lower body injuries. This gives us Worilds and our 1st rd draft pick JJ as a starter.

  • Kick

    Let him walk, that is too much money for a guy who had one good season. I would offer Demarcus ware that before worilds. They are both hurt all the time but only one is an all pro.

  • Kick

    Signing worilds to that kind of money is a raiders move and we don’t do raiders.

  • Josh Knepshield

    7 million a year is not overpayment even if he isn’t a dominant player like he was the final 8 games of last season.

  • steelster

    my thoughts exactly richie

  • steelster

    I agree, so with that being said what do you suggest

  • WIINGY

    That is pretty close to what I was thinking they would do. I would try to get the signing bonus lower and the base salary in his second year higher, since we will have plenty of cap room next year. Less dead money when they cut him later down the line.

  • WIINGY

    You can’t just look at one years salaries. Their base pay fluctuates.

  • WIINGY

    It’s not an option.

  • WIINGY

    It’s all about the guaranteed money. The contract doesn’t really matter.

    Will it be two years guaranteed or three? I kind of like the idea of a second year roster bonus(ala Kruger in the article) , since our cap is looking good in 2015. That way you make the signing bonus smaller and less dead money toward the end of the contract. He may have a really BIG cap number in 2015, but after that it’s gravy.

  • shawn

    I guess we’ll see … have a feeling i won’t be happy with the results either way

  • Louis Goetz

    For the life of me I don’t understand how Jason Worilds has become a valued free agent. In 15 games he had 43 tackles, 20 assists, 8 sacks &2 forced fumbles. The lion’s share of his production came in 4 games (Wks. 6, 7, 13 & 14) where he amassed 25 tackles, 5 assists, 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. That means the other 11 games resulted in only 18 tackles, 15 assists, & 3 sacks. He had 3 or less tackles in 9 games. In 3 games he failed to register a single tackle. When the Steelers decided to part ways with James Harrison they didn’t promote Jason Worilds, they spent their 1st round pick on Jarvis Jones. Someone please explain to me what’s so intriguing about Jason Worilds?! if he’s the best OLB in free agency there simply are no OLBs in free agency this year

  • ATL96STEELER

    I won’t dispute or debate that Shannon, but he fall into the offered a LOT more money category.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Best we can say is great timing by Worilds really…but he’s never really had enough snaps to know what was truly capable of over a full season until last year.

  • Chad H

    Good point. Does his overall production means he gets the big payday. I still say Worilds is the great unknown. Is he the “best” is he even a top 10. No, he isn’t not even close. He deserves value for his production and right now his value is between backup player and starter. I believe his true value is 4 to 5 million/year.

  • alex

    i think the numbers make for a fair deal…its Suggs/Dumervill numbers and he only has last years full time numbers to hang his hat on…

    so, sign him now and maybe dump Woodley next year with Jones growing in the wings…

  • Shannon Stephenson

    touche. lol

  • Milliken Steeler

    How exactly did Jarvis ” prove” he is a 4-3 guy when he was a rookie and shouldn’t have even been playing yet in this defense? When you’re thinking and not even playing off of your instincts because you’re arent comfortable with a scheme and…you’re a rookie, things will happen.

    He started to come on the last few games and I expect him to be more familiar with a full off season and probably 5-10 pounds of muscle added so hes playing at 250-255lbs this year.

  • Will Hammer

    Worilds is gone .Steelers won’t over pay for a guy that played 8 good games . They let harrison walk and that was good move . Still think he’s injury prone .

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