As the Pittsburgh Steelers enter the 2015 offseason, looking at their depth at outside linebacker might cause some concern among their fanbase, and rightfully so. The only OLB currently under contract is 2013 first round draft pick Jarvis Jones. Other than that is a list of free agents who have the freedom to explore their options.
James Harrison contributed in a limited role in 2014, but his age and health remain to be a cause for concern moving forward. Arthur Moats also saw spot duty this past season, but his play in 2014 could cause the Steelers to pay more for him than they are willing spend.
The biggest question mark among the group is Jason Worilds. Worilds had an average season, but after the team used the transition tag on him in 2014, which netted him over 9 Million dollars for one year, the return wasn't up to par with the pay. Worilds finished 2014 with 7.5 sacks in 16 games while making a combined 59 tackles throughout the season.
As General Manager Kevin Colbert spoke with media Tuesday, he talked about how the organization doesn't like using the franchise tag on any player, and that would include Worilds in his current situation. If the Steelers chose to place the franchise tag on Worilds it would equate to around 13 Million dollars towards the salary cap for one year of service.
Colbert spoke highly of Worilds and his play this past season, and mentioned he believes the best is yet to come for Worilds, but logistics show there is a chance Worilds tests the free agent waters and could possibly end up playing for another NFL team in 2015.
Whether the Steelers sign Worilds to a long-term deal, or let him walk is one of the many story lines this offseason for a Steelers defense lacking in depth, but one thing is for certain and it is doubtful the team uses the franchise tag on Worilds in 2015.