Thursday, December 22, 2022

Steelers Defender billed as ‘insidious’ free-agent option for 2023

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The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line could look significantly different next season. For one, 2022 third-round pick DeMarvin Leal will likely have a starting role. The Steelers could also look to draft and/or free agency to address the nose tackle position, especially as Tyson Alualu appears to be on the way to retirement and Montravius ​​Adams is set to reach free agency after next season .

Meanwhile, both Larry Ogunjobi and Chris Wormley are pending as unrestricted free agents, with the latter of the two recently included in Bleacher Report’s list of 8 “sneaky-good” free agents identified as bargain/value acquisitions in the spring will be in demand in 2023.

Never mind that Wormley has recorded just 22 tackles this year, “which is why the 29-year-old is flying under the radar into the offseason,” writes Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, before arguing that Wormley’s ability to handle both indoors and outdoors is credited playing makes him more valuable than his 2022 stats would suggest.

“Wormley has seen their defensive snap percentage drop from 71 percent in 2021 to 41 percent this season, thanks in part to the offseason addition of Larry Ogunjobi,” Knox says, explaining why the sixth-year vet isn’t producing the numbers , which he did last year when he started 14 games and had seven sacks and 18 quarterback pressure, along with 51 tackles, two passes defended and one forced fumble.

Still, he hasn’t noticed any discrepancies in his Pro Football Focus grades. In fact, he has an overall score of 69.8 this season compared to 68.3 in 2021.

“If he shows a bit of that playmaking ability that he showed a year ago, some team will gobble him up because they know it’s going to be a bargain,” concludes Knox.

There’s also a chance the Steelers might want to keep Wormley for another year or two, but not at the $2.3 million salary he’s making this season from a two-year, $4.5 million contract reports.

If that’s the case, he has an opportunity to build on the 1,150 defensive snaps he’s played for the Steelers to date, including a career-high 729 in 2021.

Recall that Wormley joined the Steelers in a rare AFC North trade with the Ravens, coming in 2020 at the expense of a 5th-round pick.

The Michigan product had minimal impact in his first season in Pittsburgh, slowed by a midseason knee injury he sustained against the Tennessee Titans. In 13 games, he recorded just eight tackles, one sack and three quarterback hits while playing just 14% of snaps on defense.

Nonetheless, Pittsburgh signed him on two more years in March 2021, resulting in his best season of the past year.

To date, Wormley has played in 38 games for the Steelers (with 16 starts) and credited him with 81 tackles (43 solo), including 10 tackles for loss, eight sacks, 13 quarterback hits, three passes defended and one forced fumble.

He entered the league in 2017 when the Baltimore Ravens selected him in the third round (No. 74 overall).

Knox added another player from the AFC North to his roster, Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell.

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