It was something of a surprise when the Steelers, hours before Monday's 4 p.m. deadline, used the transition tag on outside linebacker Jason Worilds. It was even more surprising, less than 24 hours later, that Worilds signed his transition tag offer of $9.754 million, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.
This development is noteworthy for several reasons. First, it means that Worilds can't consider offers from other clubs (under the transition tag, any team could offer him a contract and the Steelers would have seven days to match) -- and La Canfora writes that Worilds was a "primary target" for the Eagles. And second, the Steelers have plans to sign Worilds to a long-term deal.
Worilds and the Steelers have made progress toward a long-term deal and that will be the goal of both parties now. PIT could use cap space— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 4, 2014
As it stands, the Steelers are approximately $15 million over the 2014 salary cap, according to overthecap.com, and signing Worilds to a cap-friendly, multi-year deal will be at the top of the team's offseason to-do list.
It also means that some high-priced veterans could be asked to take substantial pay cuts in the coming days or be released. Candidates include cornerback Ike Taylor, whose cap number for 2014 is $11.9 million, and the guy Worilds will replace in the starting lineup, LaMarr Woodley, whose '14 cap number is $13.6 million.