Jason Worilds is putting himself back into the picture for the 2014 season. An unrestricted free agent at seasons end, Worilds has been grading out very well with the coaching staff since earning his job back from Jarvis Jones and he could emerge as a player that the Steelers make a priority to resign this off-season, despite the Steelers selection of Jones in the 2013 draft.
Worilds will be under the microscope over the next five to six weeks that will tell the story of his future in Pittsburgh.
For the past couple seasons it’s been clear that Worilds is much better suited to play the left side and Worilds performance against the Lions, 8 tackles and 1 sack, has sparked talk of the Steelers moving LaMarr Woodley to the right side.
That talk is media fueled and has little to no chance of happening, barring Worilds subbing for Woodley. Woodley, though, told the media on Wednesday that he would be willing to flip sides and claims the left side is tougher.
“The left side is tougher because the quarterback is looking at you,” said Woodley via Scott Brown of ESPN. “Even though they say the best tackle is on the left side, when you’ve got that quarterback looking at you it’s hard to make moves.”
Worilds was drafted in 2010 with the idea of him being James Harrison’s long-term replacement at ROLB but could he end up being LaMarr Woodley’s long-term replacement at LOLB?
Possibly but not until after the 2014 season.
Woodley has had a solid bounce back season but the Steelers pay Woodley like a “1” when he’s a “2”. That’s a problem.
Woodley’s contract is so bad the Steelers are stuck with him for at least one more season, even if the team wanted to go younger and cheaper next season with Worilds and Jarvis Jones. Woodley carries a $13.590 million cap hit in 2014 but has $14.170 million in dead money against the salary cap. Cutting ties with Woodley is not an option until 2015 when for now he has a $14.090 million cap hit and $8.580 million in dead money.
It might seem like a surprise but the drop off in production from Woodley to Worilds is not much.
Woodley in 531 defensive snaps has 33 tackles, 5 sacks, 20 hurries and 1 forced fumble. Jason Worilds in 81 less snaps than Woodley, has 34 tackles, 4 sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and 1 forced fumble in 450 snaps.