Pittsburgh Steelers are set to allow Jason Worilds to hit the free agency market next month after making the decision to cut their losses with the productive defensive end.
The Steelers have made the shock decision not because they don't believe in the talent of Worilds, but simply to avoid paying the large sum of money the defensive end is due for the 2015 NFL season.
Pittsburgh retained Worilds last season by using the transition tag on the star out of Virginia Tech, paying him $9.754 million in the process.
Cutting their losses
But NFL.com have reported today that the Steelers will not choose to use the transition tag again to keep the rising star for next season.
"According to ESPN's Scott Brown the Steelers have no plans on using the transition tag on the outside linebacker, per a league source," NFL.com reported on Thursday.
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"Worilds will hit the open market on March 10 as one of the top pass rushers. If Justin Houston gets tagged by the Kansas City Chiefs, Worilds would become the top 3-4 outside linebacker available -- a position several teams need to fill."
Worilds had more than proved his worth for the Steelers - especially in the last couple of seasons - with 15.5 sacks across the last two years. But instead of keeping him, the Steelers are willing to cut their losses with Worilds in the hope that they can pick up an equally talented player for less money.
It's quite clear that the Steelers are thinking of their offense for the future, with plenty of talent on that side of the ball. This means that the majority of their financial decisions moving forward will be done with keeping their offensive stars happy in mind.
Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are the biggest and best players on Pittsburgh's offense, and both Roethlisberger and Bell are due pay increases in the near future.
Roethlisberger is currently in the process of renegotiating a new deal with the Steelers, and in the coming years it's highly likely that he will count more against the cap than in previous seasons.
The same can be said of Le'Veon Bell in the future, with star running-back likely to have his contract restructured before his rookie deal finishes in two years - just like Pittsburgh did with league-leading receiver Antonio Brown back in 2012.
Although these decisions mean the Steelers will move further and further away from their well known identity as one of the most dominant defensive teams in the history of the NFL, head coach Mike Tomlin knows this is the best strategy for the Steelers as they seek to win their seventh Super Bowl in the coming years.