2023 Free Agents Analysis: DE Chris Wormley – Unrestricted

Player: Chris Wormley

Position: Defensive End

Experience: 6 Years

Free Agent Status: Unrestricted

2022 Salary Cap Hit: $2,900,000

2022 Season Breakdown:

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2022 offseason viewing Chris Wormley as a potential 22nd starter if necessary after he played that role the year before with the situation involving Stephon Tuitt. They were hoping that Tuitt would return last year, but they signed Larry Ogunjobi when he opted to retire.

Now both Wormley and Ogunjobi are due to be unrestricted free agents. And Wormley is recovering from surgery in December to repair a torn ACL that he suffered in the first game against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens.

The veteran was playing a significant rotational role up to that point. He averaged 26 snaps per game played in spite of the fact that Cameron Heyward and Ogunjobi combined only missed one game, perhaps something that went undernoticed when considering his future.

Overall, he finished the season with 23 tackles, including three for loss, with a forced fumble and half a sack. It wasn’t quite the seven-sack season he had a year earlier, but that was never Wormley’s game. He fits a more traditional 3-4 end role rather than as a rusher.

Free Agency Outlook:

The fact that Wormley tore his ACL late in the season really complicates his future. Chances are he is not going to be signed any time soon, as teams will want to see that he is healthy. That includes the Steelers. We could possibly be looking at a training camp addition.

In a similar vein to Derek Watt, Wormley would be incentivized to play on a one-year veteran minimum deal this year so that he could qualify for a Four-Year Player Benefit contract in 2024, although if both were to take that route then they would have to split the team’s allotment.

Wormley just completed a two-year, $4.5 million deal, and I certainly can’t imagine that any team out there would be considering offering him any more than that. Even once he does recover from his knee injury, he will likely be looking at deals at or near the minimum, including from Pittsburgh.

The question is whether or not the Steelers want to continue down that path. That will likely be dictated by how they are able to address the defensive line this offseason. As mentioned, Ogunjobi is also a free agent. Tyson Alualu is likely to retire, so there will be changes.

Cameron Heyward will be back, and Montravius Adams, DeMarvin Leal, and Isaiahh Loudermilk should be as well. If they re-sign Ogunjobi, and add a draft pick, maybe a mid-priced veteran free agent nose tackle, then that is their group going into next season.

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