Many feel that the Pittsburgh Steelers top priority this offseason is re-signing outside linebacker Jason Worilds.
Many also feel that will be as easy as cutting ties with fellow outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. However as I have noted in the past, it won’t be that simple for the Steelers to get a deal done with Worilds.
Now, as expected, they have a ton of competition for the services of the fourth-year pro.
According to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net, “at least a dozen” NFL teams have already expressed a lot of interest in Worilds.
Pauline also adds that Woodley’s deal will make it “very difficult if not impossible” to keep Worilds.
The Steelers have Woodley under contract for $8 million next season to go along with a cap hit of $13.59 million. Releasing him this offseason would free up $25.5 million in cap space over the next three years. However it’s the dead money this year that will eventually hurt the Steelers whether or not Woodley is on the roster or not.
Worilds is coming off of a solid year in 2013 and has said that he has no intention of taking a back seat in the coming years, so the Steelers would not only need to pay him a market value contract, but also assure him that he will be a starter moving forward.
The Virginia Tech product had 63 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles this season and was rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 12 3-4 outside linebacker in the league.
With so much competition for Worilds’ services, you know for a certainty that the price will be driven up. If that is the case, it could be impossible for the Steelers to pay Worilds what he is going to get from other teams.
The Steelers are projected to be around $10 million above the salary cap going into the offseason. While there are ways they can free up money, will they be able to free up enough to ink Worilds to a deal and still fill some other needs?