The Eagles are on the verge of formally parting ways with longtime edge defender Trent Cole, and don’t appear close to working anything out with free-agent-to-be Brandon Graham, meaning outside linebacker will be a priority for the club this offseason. One potential target for Philadelphia is currently under contract with the league’s other Pennsylvania club — Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 Washington reports (via Twitter) that the Eagles are expected to pursue Jason Worilds as soon as free agency gets underway.
Worilds, who celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday, played the 2014 season on a one-year transition tag from the Steelers, earning $9.754MM. The former second-round pick had a 2014 season that was very similar to his 2013 campaign, putting up essentially the same tackle and sack totals in ’14 (62 and 7.5) that he did a year earlier (63, 8.0).
Still, the Steelers elected not to tag Worilds again, so he’s expected to reach the open market in a matter of days. A multiyear contract for the Virginia Tech product may come in at around $7.5MM annually, according to a recent report by Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Given all the cap room cleared recently by the Eagles, that’s certainly a price the team could afford, though the team has a few holes to fill, so we’ll have to see how aggressive they’re willing to be.
For now, while Connor Barwin is penciled in one starter at outside linebacker for the Eagles, there’s no clear favorite for the second spot. 2014 first-rounder Marcus Smith is one candidate, but he didn’t see much action during his rookie season, and lined up primarily at inside linebacker when he did play.
For their part, the Steelers have expressed interest in bringing back Worilds, though if he finds a big offer on the open market, it’s not clear if Pittsburgh would be eager to match it.