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Pittsburgh Steelers preparing to let OLB Jason Worilds test free agency

In 2014 the Pittsburgh Steelers used the transition tag to keep OLB Jason Worilds from testing free agency. In 2015, the team seems prepared to let Worilds test his value on the open market.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Jason Worilds received $9.754 million dollars in 2014 for 7.5 sacks. Not much production for a lot of money being sent to a pass rusher. Worilds was paid handsomely because the Steelers organization decided to use the transition tag on Worilds which prevented him from testing the free agency waters last offseason.

After Worilds' lukewarm season, the Steelers seem prepared to allow Worilds to set his own market value by allowing him to test the free agent waters heading into 2015.

"He [Worilds] understands that if he doesn't get tagged, which we could still do, he will explore the market and see what is out there," GM Kevin Colbert said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis per Scott Brown of "We will stay in communication. Maybe he comes back. Maybe he moves on. But he's been a good player for us and we would love to have him back if it all fits."

If the Steelers choose to use the transition tag on Worilds for a second year, it would cost the team roughly $11.7 million dollars and a hefty salary cap hit the team can hardly afford. What this equates to is the simple fact that if Worilds is going to remain a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers it would be with a long-term contract and not by using another transition tag.

Worilds' situation makes for difficult decisions for the Steelers as they look at their OLB depth chart heading into 2015 with only one player under contract with NFL experience, and that is Jarvis Jones. James Harrison could be an option for the team, and Arthur Moats could be another player who could be brought back to help fill the gaping hole the team is experiencing currently at the OLB position.

Either way you look at it, it seems as though the Steelers have come to grips with the thought of Worilds testing free agency, and possibly not returning in 2015.