2023 Stock Watch – DL Chris Wormley – Stock Down

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: DL Chris Wormley

Stock Value: Down

Reasoning: Chris Wormley is entering unrestricted free agency with a torn ACL and on a team that has been drafting young defensive linemen. While the Steelers value his services, chances are he will remain unsigned for much of the offseason, and if Pittsburgh addresses the line during free agency and the draft, there may not be room for him.

The Steelers valued Chris Wormley coming out of Michigan during the 2017 NFL Draft, a story similar to pretty much all of the players they eventually decide to acquire via trade. They first brought him over in 2020 in the final year of his rookie contract in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

He ended up having to play a huge role in 2021 after re-signing on a modest two-year deal due to the situation with Stephon Tuitt. They had no time to plan an alternative at the time, however. Last year, when they knew Tuitt was retiring, they did make a move and signed Larry Ogunjobi as a starter.

Even though he was no longer starting, however, he still managed to play 40 percent of the defensive snaps in the 13 games he played before tearing his ACL. He logged 338 defensive snaps in all, registering 29 tackles with three for loss. He only had half a sack with one quarterback hit, along with a forced fumble.

Wormley logged 20 or more snaps in all but two games all season up to the injury, and he never played fewer than 15 snaps. He was never absent from the rotation, and he registered at least one tackle in every single game.

But while it’s unclear whether or not the Steelers will re-sign Ogunjobi, they have some young defensive linemen in DeMarvin Leal and Isaiahh Loudermilk who could be in line for bigger opportunities in 2023. They could make significant moves to address the position in free agency and the draft, as well.

Because he is recovering from a torn ACL and will be for a while, it’s unlikely that he signs with any team in the near future. He likely won’t sign with anybody until at least around the time training camps open. By then, Pittsburgh will have a clearer picture of how the defensive line is filling out and whether or not there might be a spot for Wormley.

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