No Productive Contract Talks Yet Between Steelers, Jason Worilds

There are still roughly 100 days to go until the start of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 regular-season. Unless something changes between now and then, linebacker Jason Worilds will likely play the year under the one-year, $9.754 million transition tag that he signed back in March.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there have been no productive talks between the Steelers and Worilds thus far and quite frankly, that news is not too surprising.

Back in March, I wrote about how the Steelers might be best served to treat Worilds much in the same way that they treated tackle Max Starks back in 2008. In other words, let him play a season on the transition tag in order to prove that a long-term contract should be an option.

While Worilds did have a good 2013 season from a statistical standpoint, he still hasn’t shown that he’s a complete player and that he can perform on a consistent basis. Leaving him on the transition tag in 2014 will give him an opportunity to prove that he can build on to his 2013 season while paying him a healthy sum of money.

If need be, the Steelers can just tag Worilds again next offseason if he does play well in 2014 and at that time the two sides can attempt to hammer out a long-term deal.

  • Steel PAul

    Dave, I’m pretty sure I heard you reference how a player who is tagged makes more money if they DO NOT sign a long term deal. Am I recalling that correctly?

    Thinking you maybe said it on one of the podcasts.

  • Chris

    In the theoretical, yes. If he plays under this transition tag ($9.75mil), and then is good enough to get tagged next year ($11.5ish mil), he’s making a guaranteed $20mil over 2 years. And to keep him a 3rd year, they’d have to pay him nearly $14mil under a tag (120% of $11.5mil)

    By comparison, Clay Matthews signed a 6yr/$69mil deal with $20.5m guaranteed. We wouldnt even come close to that for Worilds, which means the odds he’d get $20mil in guarantees are low.

    He has to take the risk that he doesnt make as much in 2015 (or that he gets hurt), but, the upside is very high

  • shawn

    I would think so … they get 100% of their money … If I was him id love to get the tag every year … this has been a colossal screw up by the FO in my opinion !

  • Yup, let him prove himself. Then we’ll see. If he’s really a stud OLB, then we can pay him what he “deserves” next off-season.

  • shawn

    what he deserves … he will never sign for … that is the problem !

  • Sure, and if his asking price is too high, and there’s no desire to tag him, they can let him walk. I just think we’ll get a good sense this year of just what sort of a player he is.

  • srdan

    Well, that is all dependent on his production and health. If he plays this year and gets 15 sacks in 15 games you are correct because he will be the most sought out FA on the market in March.
    Contrary, if he gets injured, or he only gets 3 sacks this year he will be an average FA next year. Where if he signed a 5 year contract today, he could be paid as possibly a top 10 OLB in the league.

    It’s a gamble for him and the team. I personally think that historically players have great seasons during contract years. Which a transition tag, or franchise tag is. Last year was his “contract year”. Don’t think for a second that it didn’t positively impact his play or will. This year could be the same. And if the steelers pick his franchise tag up next year, it could be more of the same.

  • srdan

    Players hate the tag. Look at the Alex Mack situation.

    Players know that being healthy for 16 games is hard. The fact that he stayed healthy and performed is going to get him paid for a eyar. If he can’t repeat that, his long term contract is going to be less.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    But luckily (when Worilds leaves next year) we will have another 1st round LB Jarvis Jones (1.17) to go along with our other 1st round LB Shazier (1.15) to go along with our still other 1st round LB Timmons (1.15). So we should be fine right?

    Or perhaps we should’ve considered spreading the draft pick wealth around a little bit to our WR or CB positions? … Nah. Why would we do that?

  • chris ward

    Would like to see another year from Worilds and see him play like he did in the second half of the 13′ season on consistent basis. Before the Steelers agree to a long-term deal.

  • Paul R

    if a player blows out a knee or an Achilles in the last couple of games while playing under the tag they can forget about getting the next big contract. That is why they like to get extended with at least 1 year remaining on their contract.

  • Paul R

    Zumwalt may figure into the equation next year if Worilds leaves via free agency (or gets hurt)

  • shawn

    see post by Chris above … there are 2 sides to it … there is an upside as well !

  • shawn

    everyone is well of the risk of injury … but like Chris states above … there is actually more guaranteed money to be made being tagged … its all a matter of risk … course if a long contract player gets injured he will not see most of his money either …. its all how u look at it !

  • shawn

    i see a similar performance as last year which does us no favors as he will want too much money once again & we will have to tag him or let him walk which either way is a loss !

  • srdan

    I was replying to your “colossal screw up” opinion. I was trying to point out that there are good sides to it for the teams. The owners are the ones that wouldn’t budge on it for the CBA. The players didn’t want it. Without it we would be talking baout woodley and Jones as our starting OLBs. No thanks.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I get what they are doing and don’t claim to know best. However, with this philosophy, you are bound to lose him in FA or overpay. I would think by now you would know what you have in Worrilds. Is he worth that money or not.

    If they don’t lock him up before the season, its clear to me that they think he is not.

  • dgh57

    No depth behind Worilds to even get excited about and we didn’t draft a true OLB. So hopefully when the Woodley money is freed up maybe they’ll be a veteran cut sometime during the preseason that we can pick up to help in case things don’t work out with Worilds. If not and Worilds isn’t resigned it will become clear where our FA dollars will be going next off season. I know the James Harrison thing and I’m in favor of it but I see him as a last resort mainly because of his age and he would only fill the gap at OLB for one year then we’d be back to square one with the depth issue. Bottom line is depth is needed and it has to come from somewhere!

  • joed32

    Ed may be right about this but his sources don’t seem to be as good as they used to be. Contract agreements are usually deadline driven and the deadline is a long way off.

  • shawn

    lets be honest … Worilds is vastly overrated … he had a decent season and has the potential to be a solid player but by not signing him to a modest but fair contract after the 2012 season when it was clear that he had potential after posting 5 sacks on limited playing time the FO lost all its leverage … and thus is either going to overpay to keep him (whether on a yearly basis or long term contract … or let him walk after this year ) those are the only 2 options and neither look really good to me !

  • Dan

    Given his injury history it’s hard not to be a little cautious about backing up the Brinks truck, but on the other hand tagging him two years in a row eats up a lot of cap space. Calculated risk.

  • srdan

    Youre going to have a hard time convincing me that 93 is overrated. Maybe its the cool-aid, but you won’t be able to sell me on that. He was the most disruptive pass rusher we have had since 92 got his DMVP.

    Most of us were wondeirng if 93 was going to be on the team last year. A long term contract was far from what I wanted and the FO agreed. But remember that it takes two. Maybe they offered him a modest deal and he knew with a fat olb, and a rook his chance was this year. He played his cards right.

    All decisions are easier in hindsight. Don’t judge people on decisions they made yesterday, based on your knowledge today.

  • srdan

    What injury history? Look it up. For some reason people think he is an injury risk, but in reality he is the healthiest LB we have had other than timmons.

  • Matt Manzo

    I feel like I’m the only one that thinks Zumwalt will impress! I believe he can provide quality depth, awesome special teams play, and possibly a spot starter! My gut tells me he can play OLB but we shall see?!

  • joed32

    He missed 5 games in 4 years and played in 59 although not all as a starter, that;s pretty good.

  • shawn

    it wasn’t knowledge today … c’mon now they knew what he produced in 2012 … didnt take a genius … just like they should know what Cortez can do now …

    So i guess you think he’s worth the 9/10 mil a year going forward … sorry I’m not drinking that kool-aid … he’s worth 5-7 tops and thats why i say he’s vastly overrated … he is nowhere near as productive or worth what Harrison & Woodley were in their primes … we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that !