The Pittsburgh Steelers have a pair of free agents who the New York Jets are rumored to have interest in this offseason. In order to get a better understanding of both players we reached out to Neal Coolong, who is the Managing Editor of Behind The Steel Curtain. Check out his commentary on both players below and make sure to give him a follow!
EMMANUEL SANDERS (Check out our evaluation of Sanders here and below for additional thoughts)
Emmanuel Sanders is a solid all-around NFL wide receiver. He has good speed, decent hands and plays the game hard. The main issue with Sanders and Pittsburgh may simply be a combination of injuries and the money having already been spent on Antonio Brown. Had Sanders been able to avoid injuries earlier in his career (minimal injuries in 2013), he could have gotten on the field a bit more and perhaps boosted his stock higher than where it is now. Also, he doesn’t have one high level physical aspect of his game – he’s not particularly big, he runs well but isn’t on the high end in comparison to his peers, runs good routes but not outstanding ones. I could see him catching 60-70 passes and around 1,000 yards somewhere – a solid second option for a passing team.
This sounds like a reasonable corroboration of our evaluation. An important thing to note is that Neal said 60-70 receptions and around 1,000 yards as a solid second option for a “passing” team. The Jets don’t project to be a “passing” team in 2014. I’d say his ceiling in our offense would be 55-60 receptions for 750-800 yards, with 4-6 touchdowns.
JASON WORILDS (Check out our free agency primer for linebackers here and below for additional thoughts)
It’s been a night and day career for Jason Worilds to this point. While seemingly out of nowhere he blew up over the second half of the 2013 season, he had made, at best, a moderate impact in Pittsburgh through his first 3.5 seasons. The Steelers selected Jarvis Jones in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft and immediately flung him into competition with Worilds for the team’s starting left outside linebacker position. Jones would eventually take the starting job away from Worilds, but neither had much success rushing off the left offensive edge. Eventually Worilds would gain the job back, and his three biggest impact games – Weeks 11-13 against Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore – were against right tackles who are, at best, marginal NFL players. Caveat emptor with Worilds, for sure, and I think he’d be best trying to get something of a shorter deal and a guarantee of a starting job from the Steelers than to sign elsewhere. His production over the final seven games of the 2013 season was against suspect competition and well above his career average.
A red flag review of Worilds from Neal, which makes you feel hesitant about throwing big money at a player who seemed to aggregate stats over a handful of games against suspect offensive lines. From the free agency estimates I’ve seen, it sounds like Worilds is going to get paid on the assumption that he can ascend to a double digit sack player with a full time role in the proper defense. Do I think Rex can get 10 sacks out of him? Hey, he got 10 out of Calvin Pace last season but I’m not sure Worilds is going to merit the type of big money contract a team will throw at him.