It wasn't a surprise to see 4 p.m. ET pass with no contract signed between the Steelers and outside linebacker Jason Worilds. One with cornerback Brice McCain wasn't a certainty, but losing him in free agency would be a bit more of a surprise.
Both are now free agents, and are presumably hashing out deals with other teams. - McCain is drawing the interest of the Minnesota Vikings and Worilds has been linked to multiple teams.
Young and experienced is the Steelers' mantra in free agency. That was McCain last year, and he's still relatively young. One main explanation as to why he was allowed to test free agency was - brace yourself - to test free agency. McCain had a solid season, much to the disagreement of Steeler Nation, and likely will build largely upon his $730,000 contract from last season.
As for Worilds, he's thought to be in a good position to pick up a bit of a hot market for outside linebackers, but that hasn't happened quite yet.
This leaves the Steelers in an interesting spot. Wherever Worilds may end up, his original team left the door open for him. With a three-day legal tampering period and a few hours into the official start of free agency, it's safe to say Worilds did not command a top-flight contract.
Perhaps the Steelers were banking on that, and looked to swoop in for the rebounding contract in the fluctuating market that always is the case for pass rushers.
McCain is a different issue. The possibility of Worilds' contract value falling is as likely as McCain's increasing. He was a solid slot cornerback for a good Texans defense in 2011 before falling apart over the next two years. He rejuvenated his career in Pittsburgh, and now, a team in a strong passing division may add a few other digits to the years and dollars columns of a contract.
A team with cap space and a lot of good passing division opponents? The Minnesota Vikings.