In a rather surprising turn of events, the Pittsburgh Steelers have made a move at the franchise tag deadline in order to keep outside linebacker Jason Worilds. While they didn't use the actual franchise tag on him, they did end up designating him the transition tag player.
This means he'll be paid the average salary of the top 10 players at his position. That means he'll be paid in the neighborhood of $10 million in 2013. This comes as a big surprise ahead of the start of free agency, as Worilds was going to be one of the best pass-rushing linebackers to hit the open market.
A second-round pick by Pittsburgh out of Virginia Tech in 2010, Worilds has spent four seasons in Pittsburgh while playing in 57 games with 21 starts with 18 sacks, with four passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
In 2013, he played 15 games with 11 starts with eight sacks and two forced fumbles. Worilds had seven of his eight sacks in his final eight games and missed the regular-season finale with an abdominal strain. Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com recently cited "serious buzz from teams" that are growing excited to see a young pass rusher like Worilds reach the open market.
It looks as though they'll be disappointed with this move.