2023 Stock Watch – DL Chris Wormley – Down

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. 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: With the Steelers adding multiple defensive linemen for depth ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, it further decreases the odds of the team looking to bring back Chris Wormley later this offseason when he is closer to returning from a torn ACL suffered in December.

I very rarely ever write about a player who is not currently under contract in this series (I’m not even writing about Allen Robinson right now since the deal isn’t official), but I’ll make an occasional exception when I think there’s merit to it.

The Steelers have always seemed to like Chris Wormley, certainly, but it seems likely that partnership has come to an end as a new front office regime continues to restock the trenches. Not only have they retained Larry Ogunjobi this offseason as a starter on a three-year deal, they signed Breiden Fehoko and Armon Watts, depth players, surely, but perhaps players who better fit what they’re looking for.

Both will have to earn a roster spot, but both are capable players who have three-plus years of NFL experience. Fehoko fits the bill as a run-stopping, two-gapping nose tackle, whereas Watts would be ideally suited as a nickel tackle with pass-rush upside.

Neither may be the quintessential 3-4 end, which is perhaps closest to what Wormley is, but with everything becoming niche, that is decreasingly significant. And they may well use the draft to satisfy that spot, perhaps with a very early draft pick as an heir apparent to Cameron Heyward.

As for Wormley, now six years in the league, half with the Ravens and half with the Steelers, he will be turning 30 in October and is an unsigned free agent after playing out a two-year contract from Pittsburgh signed in 2021.

He filled in for an absent Stephon Tuitt in 2021, starting 14 of 15 games with 51 tackles and by far a career-high seven sacks, logging 729 defensive snaps. With Ogunjobi brought in last season, he still managed to play about 40 percent of the defensive snaps when he was available, seeing 338 snaps across 13 games before tearing his ACL against his former team.

It was thought that the Steelers might look to re-sign him when he is healthier, perhaps around the time of the start of training camp or even toward the start of the season, but with the way they have been insulating the depth along the defensive line, it’s hard to see them bothering. That story might change some if they come out of the draft without a new defensive end, though.

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