It seems logical to conclude the ears of pending Steelers free agent outside linebacker Arthur Moats perked up when reports surfaced that the team would let Jason Worilds explore free agency.
Moats would then become the likely target of any cash the Steelers are willing to give an outside linebacker.
He signed a one-year deal with the Steelers last year after playing the previous four years with the Buffalo Bills. Moats didn't see much action, even after a long-term injury to Jarvis Jones sidelined the team's former first round pick for most of the season. The Steelers signed James Harrison instead, and Moats only played around 20 snaps a game, but was still one of the Steelers' most effective players. He notched four sacks on the year, including two in a key win over Cincinnati in Week 14.
Moats spoke with Steelers.com reporter Teresa Varley recently, expressing his desire to stay in Pittsburgh.
"I love this organization," said Moats, who believes there is mutual interest to keep him in Pittsburgh. "Even though I was only here for one year, from top to bottom it's been a great experience.
"I think it's the guys that are here. It's a family run type of organization, you feel the love. They show that they care about you. Even when they are pushing you, and you are tired, you know they are doing it because they care about you and just want to get the best out of you.
Varley ran a similarly-toned piece on cornerback Brice McCain Thursday, who is also considered to be a key pending free agent for the Steelers.
It would be wise for the team to secure the services of both veterans, who both indicated they wish to remain in Pittsburgh, with some of the $10 million in cap space the team is expected to clear from restructures to contracts owned by Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert and Mike Mitchell.