As we spend nearly every waking hour on who the Pittsburgh Steelers might draft with the 15th overall pick in May we must remember there are a number of things that are yet to happen that could greatly influence who that selection is.
Furthermore, what happens over the next couple of months with the Steelers could impact what they do in the entire draft and not just the first round.
Bearing this in mind, we must consider the real, although unlikely, possibility of both LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds being somewhere other than Pittsburgh when training camp begins.
The respective situations break down like this; if the Steelers plan to cut Woodley on June 1st they would absorb a cap blow for one year of about five million. They would also be dealing with is contract in 2015 as well but to the tune of over eight million for a guy who again wouldn’t even be on the roster.
If the Steelers choose to cut him pre-June 1st then they would suffer a blow of around $14 million for this season. The good news is that he’d be off the books for 2015 and 2016. Any way you slice it, dumping Woodley is going to cost money either immediately or over the long haul.
For Worilds, he will be one of the top outside linebacking targets in the NFL when free agency starts on March 11th. The problem that faces the Steelers is that Worilds will likely have to be over-paid in order to keep him because of the money he’ll demand on the open market. Worilds has shown flashes of great play but for what amounts to about half of a season.
Worilds is a safe play for the Steelers in terms of keeping some experience in that position but they cannot afford to be wrong should they re-sign him. My question is just how bad would losing both guys be?
Many fans don’t want to see Worilds leave because of what happened with Keenan Lewis. I understand that but there is no guarantee that Worilds will be as productive on another team as Lewis has been in New Orleans. In Woodley’s case, can his situation get any worse? Reportedly, Woodley has been doing everything he can to get in proper shape for 2014. I stress the term reportedly….
His injuries have largely been soft tissue injuries and that typically indicates a lack of conditioning. Perhaps the Steelers have already made their decision on this dilemma and I’ll be honest. I think I know exactly what it is already.
My guess is that Worilds will demand too much and will go elsewhere and the Steelers are prepared for that. Therefore they’ll ride for at least one more year with LaMarr Woodley and hope that he can stay healthy. I also believe they’ll look for a stop-gap at the position in free agency and probably look for depth in the draft as well.
Regardless of what happens, Steelers’ fans need to be prepared for the small possibility of both Worilds and Woodley being gone in 2014.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.