Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DE Chris Wormley
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: Last week, we were hit with the very exciting news that the Steelers agreed to a two-year contract with one of their own unrestricted free agents in Chris Wormley.
At the risk of falling prey to the sunken cost fallacy, it was something of minor relief when the Steelers signed Chris Wormley to a new contract this offseason after having previously traded away a fifth-round pick in order to get him. This comes in part from the experiences of a year ago when they also gave up a fifth-rounder for tight end Nick Vannett, who did something less than yeoman work while here and then left in free agency.
Practically speaking, the prior trade has no bearing on whether or not the current deal is a smart move—but I think all the same that it is. Wormley is a classic 3-4 defensive end who should have more opportunities to get on the field this year than he did last season playing behind Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu—especially since Alualu is now gone, returning to the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency.
While with the Ravens, Wormley logged 849 snaps between the 2018-19 seasons with 13 starts in 32 games. He compiled 49 tackles during that span with four for loss, with two and a half sacks, eight quarterback hits, and seven passes defensed.
The Steelers have been saying for quite some time now that they want to rotate more along the defensive line, even though it continues not to happen. Perhaps with Wormley now in toe for a couple of years, with a year already in the system, this will approach something closer to reality.
He will, however, have to compete for playing time, as they also have Isaiah Buggs, Henry Mondeaux, and Carlos Davis on the roster. While not all of them are necessarily 3-4 defensive ends, the majority of their snaps are in a nickel defense with two down linemen, which all can play.