Steelers LB Jason Worilds Likely To Ride Transition Tag For Several Months

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Pittsburgh Steelers placed the transition tag on outside linebacker Jason Worilds and by the looks of things, he will ride on that $9.754 million number throughout the summer.

If you look back over the last several years, history tells you that the Steelers never rush to get long-term deals done with the players they tag.

In 2008, tackle Max Starks received a $6.895 million transition tender and ultimately played the entire season on it. The following offseason, Starks was given the $8.451 million franchise tag, but the Steelers did not get a long-term deal done with him until late that June.

In 2010, kicker Jeff Reed was given the franchise tag and he rode that $2.418 million number until he was released later that season as the Steelers were never able to work out a long-term deal with him.

Prior to the start of free agency in 2011, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was given the $10.091 million franchise tag and once again, a long-term deal took a while to get done. While the lockout didn’t help things, Woodley ultimately signed a long-term deal in early August.

While the Steelers currently have just over $2 million in salary cap space to work with until June, it’s enough to take care of the rest of the business they have at hand. Regardless, they’re not going to let a lack of space force them to do a new deal with Worilds that won’t be good for them.

When they Steelers placed the transition tender on Worilds, they did so knowing that it could possibly take a while to get him extended and they planned around that accordingly.

  • Paddy

    They could use the cap room a deal would give them but we don’t really know if he’s the real deal yet.

  • mlc43

    I was hoping that they would have come together on something by now. Like you say, though, it’s pretty obvious this isn’t going to happen any time soon.


    He has put pressure on qb’s for the last 2 years, more than any other player we have. I would have to say he is the real deal! It’s a shame that our coaching staff didn’t recognize it 2 years ago, he would of already been signed. If Woodley didn’t get hurt, our lame coaching staff would of kept him on the bench behind Jarvis Jones. Just like Cameron Heyward has been better than Zig Hood for several years and they refused to start him. Hopefully with their backs to the wall, our stubborn / cautious staff will infuse the roster with youthful players!

  • 243546

    Here’s what I don’t understand about the situation with Worilds – by signing the tag so quickly, he took himself off the free agent market, and lost his ability to negotiate with other team. Why would he limit himself like that, unless the two sides were already talking, and they were close on what a contract should look like? If Worilds had spent some time shopping himself in FA, was unable to get the money he was looking for, and then decided to sign his transition tag, then a deal taking a while to get done would make sense.

    The only reason that makes sense, as to why the Steelers would try to get something worked out later, rather than sooner, is the draft. If they managed to draft of of the top OLB’s, then they could have Worilds play the year under the transition tag, see how JJ and the rookie LB develop in 2014, and make a long term decision after the season. Another possibility is that they want to see one more year out of Worilds before making a decision, but again, why did he sign his tag so soon if he didn’t think there was a reasonable offer coming?

  • steeltown


  • StrengthOfVictory

    Worilds’ signing of the tag seems to indicate (to me) that the two sides have an understanding. If part of that understanding involves waiting until the Woodley money (the releasing of whom is itself a gesture of serious intent, and a reminder that Worilds is the starter), then so be it.

    For all we know, this is how they’ve intended it all along. The Steelers don’t HAVE to rush to sign Jason. The same cannot be said for UFA out there.

  • 243546

    But there isn’t any reason to wait for the Woodley money to be freed up. Worilds already counts $9.75M towards the cap. Regardless of what ever deal gets done, that number isn’t going to go up. If anything, it should go down.

  • PA2AK

    Maybe Worilds wanted to be in Pittsburgh, but just needed some commitment that he would start?

    Good point on why they are waiting. Could be. Anyway you look at it, I think they are smart to take time on it. They usually do with the first long term contract. They’ve got a plan and they are working through it…we just have to see how it all pans out.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Unless Worlds is willing to sign a team friendly deal there isn’t any reason To sign him early other than cap space. You can’t pay millions of dollars for cap space when that also means you take a bunch of extra risk on what is already a risky contract.

    With his history I would really want to see 4 sacks in the first 3 games before giving him 9 mil or more.

    With the history of steeler tagged players you might be better off going year to year.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d like them to sign him then bring in some Rb & wr. Miles Austin,Sidney Rice & Bennett was just released by Chicago and Knowshon & Blount are still out there.

  • NW86

    I think you’ve hit on the Steelers side of it – no need to lock up a lot of long-term guaranteed money when you don’t know what other tools you’re going to have in your toolbox after May.
    From Worilds side of it, he may have known that this was a possibility, but still been OK with betting on himself in 2014 if a long-term deal doesn’t happen yet. Even though it’s a gamble, he probably realizes that he could make great money for 1 year, and if he has a full, solid season in 2015, that will increase the size and guarantees in his next contract substantially.

  • Superdriller316

    OLB might just have a higher priority in this years draft.

  • Wayne Darby

    Which makes it all the more curious as to why he signed the tender so quickly. Signing it quickly, to me, was a sign that a deal was close without seeing what other offers were available out there.

  • Paul Barracliffe

    I think Worilds shpuld ride the tag all year and resign next
    This way he coulf prove his value as a dtarter becore he gets paid

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    Ride the tag until next year..Prove yaself