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OK, who will replace James Harrison?


Mark Kaboly  |  Tribune-Review


With the Steelers departing ways with James Harrison on Saturday in a salary cap move, the question quickly moved to who will replace the All-Pro linebacker on the right side?


The logical answer is Jason Worilds — a former 2nd-round pick that showed flashes last year while replacing Harrison early in the season and LaMarr Woodley late in the season.


According to ProFootballFocus, Worilds finished the season with five sacks despite only rushing the passer 175 times. By comparison, Harrison had six sacks in 310 pass rushes and Woodley four sacks in 245 pass rushes.


Worilds has played in 999 snaps in three season and has 10 career sacks.


Despite the improvement from Worilds, the Steelers aren’t 100 percent sold on him because of his lack of experience and his inability to stay healthy and will look for competition for him on the free agency market so that’s why they are exploring free that possibility.


The organization has their eyes on at least three what can be considered young and underutilized free agent outside linebackers. Taking a linebacker early in the draft would not help the situation immediately.


The issue with a free agent replacement is that the Steelers don’t have a ton of money to throw at that position especially since they just released a guy because of money. The Steelers would likely be only willing to offer $3-4 million per season to a guy like that, and that wouldn’t entice many young free agents with potential.


So unless the Steelers are willing to scratch together a little more money to offer a free agent linebacker, they will have no choice but to hand the job over to Worilds.


And if Worilds stays healthy, that might not be a bad thing … that is if he stays healthy.




Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as four Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa, XLV in Dallas and 50 in San Francisco. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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