If viewed purely from a value on the free agency market perspective, the two players who can ill afford to miss Pittsburgh's Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns are outside linebacker Jason Worilds and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Both were injured in Pittsburgh's 38-31 win over Green Bay Sunday, and both have missed practice Thursday. Worilds and Sanders are both free agents this offseason, and the Steelers could make an effort to retain either one of them, or even both, depending on multiple factors.
It's as banged up as the Steelers have been over a relatively healthy second half of the season. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has already committed to the usage of Chris Carter and Stevenson Sylvester at outside linebacker, with or without Worilds. Markus Wheaton would normally be called on to replace Sanders, but he broke a finger in the win over the Packers, but did practice fully Thursday.
The Steelers need to win Sunday, and watch losses from Miami (vs. Jets), Baltimore (at Cincinnati) and San Diego (vs. Chiefs) in order to qualify for the postseason. Even without it, a win would extend their streak of seasons without a losing record to 10.
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