The move is a bit of a surprise since General Manager Kevin Colbert said recently that he “doubted” the team would use either the franchise or transition tag.
Worilds will now make $9.7 million this season on a one year deal if he cannot come to terms with any other team in the league.
Other teams will have the opportunity to sign him but the Steelers reserve the right to match any offer over a five-day period or let him go. They receive no compensation should he go elsewhere.
The Steelers must have felt they were in no man’s land regarding the outside linebacker spot to pull the trigger on this. In my opinion, Jason Worilds is not worth $9 million a year. Half of that yearly sum would make me question him as well.
Let’s remember this is a guy who has shown flashes of being a very good outside linebacker but most of those flashes were over one half of a season. As Neal Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain mentioned recently, the list of guys Worilds beat to collect his eight sacks isn’t all that impressive. Against higher level competition Worilds was held in check.
With the future of LaMarr Woodley still in doubt and little if any experience behind them, the outside linebacking unit was in trouble without the return of Worilds. Personally, I would have taken my chances but here we are.
Earlier today, several reports said Steelers’ tight end Heath Miller was restructuring his deal in order to help get the Steelers more ‘salary cap compliant.’ That is just the first of many moves the Steelers will now have to make in order to get below the cap a week from today when the league calendar officially begins.
I fully expect contract adjustments coming for Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons and perhaps Ben Roethlisberger but the big one may be Ike Taylor. Should Taylor not want to take a pay cut then he may be cut altogether. The Steelers will immediately gain some room with the cutting of Levi Brown and I think you could see a vet like Larry Foote gone as well.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have always been about ‘defense first’ and this move does nothing to change that view. That doesn’t necessarily make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside though with the game being so offensively based today.
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.