Originally posted on Steelers Depot  |  Last updated 1/12/14

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 30: Jason Worilds #97 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gets ready to run a drill during mini camp at the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Facility on April 30, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By Matthew Marczi Player: Jason Worilds Position: Outside Linebacker Experience: 4 Years Free Agent Status: Unrestricted 2013 Salary Cap Hit: $985,000 2013 Season Breakdown: 2013 was certainly an interesting year for the young Jason Worilds, a former second-round draft selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. He has battled public scrutiny since being selected, constantly being compared to (or more to the point contrasted against) Sean Lee, an inside linebacker that the Steelers passed over at the time to draft Worilds. There’s no sense in revisiting the rationale behind the Steelers choosing one over the other, but suffice it to say that the pressure was on Worilds this season. Not only was it simply a contract year, it was a year in which they released the staple, James Harrison, only to go ahead and draft an outside linebacker in the first round in Jarvis Jones. While Worilds ended up starting the first game of the season, he was heavily rotated with Jones, and the latter was moved into the starting lineup beginning with the second game of the year, starting the next four games before a concussion forced him to miss the Week Seven matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. When he returned, he lost his job to Worilds, who as a veteran was more knowledgeable of the defense and less prone to being out of position and allowing big plays—which is a problem the defense was having. Still, Worilds wasn’t exactly lighting up the night sky with his play at right outside linebacker—excepting a two-sack performance against Nate Solder and the New England Patriots—until LaMarr Woodley was injured and the Steelers moved Worilds over to the left outside linebacker spot. Beginning with the game against the Detroit Lions, it seemed as though a light had come on for Worilds, a light whose switch couldn’t be explained simply by changing sides. After all, the majority of Worilds’ prior playing experience had come from the left side as it was. In that Lions game, however, it seemed that Worilds finally learned to control and harness a vicious pass rushing spin move that he’d been working on since his college days, and finally began using with great effect in a meaningful game. That spin move led him to a strong finish to the season that saw him rack up five sacks in his last six games—seven sacks in his last eight games going back to the New England game. But it wasn’t just his sudden pass-rushing ability, which saw him lead the league with 21 quarterback hits. Worilds suddenly became a much better player against the run and holding contain on the perimeter. With Woodley out, Worilds suddenly became the guy, and for the first time in his four-year career, he stepped up when the team needed him most. His 63 tackles, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles in 15 games—11-starts—are all impressive numbers, especially when considering that much of those statistics were accumulated in the back half of the season, and certainly command the front office’s attention as they plot a way to keep their blossoming pass rusher. Free Agency Outlook: Unfortunately for the Steelers, the 3-4 outside linebacker landscape in this free agent market is awfully sparse, if not bone dry. Worilds is likely the most attractive candidate to any 3-4 team seeking a pass rusher, with the possible exception of Brian Orakpo, who is likely to be retained by the Washington Redskins. The Steelers would have to move a lot of numbers through cuts, restructures, reductions, and extensions, but they can fit in a new contract for Worilds with a workable 2014 cap hit, even considering the fact that releasing Woodley would be prohibitively costly. The best option for Pittsburgh would be to retain all three linebackers for 2014 and let the two best start. I believe whether or not he returns to Pittsburgh simply depends on how critical the front office deems it to have him back. Even though he’s only now escaping the shadow of an injury-plagued and unspectacular beginning of his career, the second half of the 2013 season showed that Worilds can be a legitimate starter and potential difference-maker. Worilds certainly seems as though he isn’t in a hurry to flee from the city, so as long as they can promise him a representative salary compensation—and, of course, playing time—then I think the chances are good that the not-yet-26-year-old pass rusher will be back in the starting lineup next season. Other Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis Ryan Clark - Unrestricted Free Agent Emmanuel Sanders - Unrestricted Free Agent Brett Keisel - Unrestricted Free Agent Jerricho Cotchery - Unrestricted Free Agent Ziggy Hood - Unrestricted Free Agent Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Free Agents Analysis: LB Jason Worilds – Unrestricted is a post from: Steelers Depot
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Celtics celebrated Game 3 win by Facetiming with Isaiah Thomas

Stephen Curry still hobbled by ‘dirty play’ of Dewayne Dedmon

Aaron Donald not at Rams' voluntary OTAs, reportedly over contract

Enes Kanter wants to become American citizen

Report: O.J. Simpson's parole hearing set for July

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baseball may soon enter an era of two-way players

Kyrie Irving: Cavs were served ‘slice of humble pie’

Report: NFL teams question Darrelle Revis’ commitment to the game

Zaza Pachulia partially blames Gregg Popovich for his family receiving death threats

Sens coach Guy Boucher: We know Pens 'are the better team'

IndyCar drivers Dixon, Franchitti robbed at gunpoint in Taco Bell drive-thru

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker