I’ve accepted at this point that it’s not going to happen and am looking at the 2014 off-season now. Priority number one should be Jason Worilds.
I understand that you can’t ever say that a team “needs” to sign a guy, because you can’t let one player hold a team hostage like that. However, I’ve said a lot the past few years that the Steelers’ struggles are caused by drafting problems.
That’s true to some extent, but I would say that not being able to keep the good picks could be an even bigger problem (which is a problem they have created by restructuring so many contracts)…
Last off-season we saw Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis both leave Pittsburgh for big contracts. Letting Mike Wallace walk was absolutely the right move. He wasn’t a team player, and while you can’t teach speed, he was worth nowhere near what the Dolphins paid him.
That being said, let’s say that Mike Wallace is a locker room leader, and would’ve been willing to sign for less than 60 million… It wouldn’t have mattered. The Steelers never would’ve had the cap room to keep Mike even if they wanted to.
Keenan Lewis is a prime example of the type of player the Steelers would’ve locked up in the past. He learned the system and played well in it, and signed for a contract that wasn’t small by any means, but was what I would call fair.
The Steelers have always been good at knowing when it’s time to move on from a declining veteran player. If Keenan Lewis was on the roster right now, I have zero doubt that Ike Taylor would be released this off-season. They would be pretty well set for years to come with Lewis and Cortez Allen at the cornerback position.
Instead they have to decide between paying Ike, who’s been beaten a lot this year… Or rolling the rice with Allen and William Gay. In hindsight, the Steelers should have let Ike go and used the cap room to sign Lewis.
The Jason Worilds situation looks very similar to what happened with Keenan Lewis. The biggest difference is that getting rid of the under-performing vet (Woodley) would create a sticky situation with dead money.
I think they need to figure out a way to keep all 3 pass rusher (I’m including Jarvis Jones obviously). Let Jones sit and play situationally behind Woodley and Worilds. By the time Woodley is at or near the end of his contract they would know if Jones is ready to go or not.
I realize for that to happen some drastic measure need to happen. I’d be willing to part with some combination of Kiesel, Ziggy, Foote, Ike, Clark, and/or Polamalu.
That’s going to hurt our defense, but I’m saying you keep the young talented player that could contribute on a championship team down the road… Instead of keeping an aging veteran that keeps the team barely above water.
The only player on this defense you could argue is playing better than Worilds right now is Cameron Heyward. Worilds has taken some time to grow, but is still only 25 years old. I wrote about a month ago it was time for a youth movement, and Worilds could get that started.