Worilds Linked To Eagles Once Again

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

The Eagles were showing interest in Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds this time last year, but Pittsburgh kept him off the market by applying the transition tag.

This time around, Worilds is almost certainly going to make it to free agency, and the Eagles reportedly remain interested. According to NBC’s Dianna Marie Russini, they are expected to go after Worilds as soon as free agency opens. The “legal tampering” period begins on March 7, and deals can become official at 4 p.m. on March 10. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: On the OLB Market

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The deadline for teams to designate franchise or transition players is a week from today (March 2). By that time, the expectation is that the Chiefs will either lock up or place the franchise tag on Justin Houston, preventing the top pass rusher in this free-agent class from getting loose.

The three next-best edge rushers, per RotoworldJerry Hughes (Buffalo), Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) and Greg Hardy (Carolina) — will be coming out of 4-3 defenses if they come out at all. It’s not until you get to the middle of the list and Washington’s Brian Orakpo when you will find an active 3-4 linebacker that might actually be available. Read more »

Combine Notes: Lovie On Winston/Mariota

Jayne Kamin / Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin / Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS – An ESPN report earlier this month indicated that Tampa head coach Lovie Smith prefers Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota.

Speaking at the Combine in Indianapolis Wednesday, Smith suggested that he would be comfortable making Winston the face of the franchise.

“I understand allegations are against him, I understand he went through the justice system, court system to be exonerated on some allegations against him. I understand some of the college things that a lot of guys do that you wish you wouldn’t later on. I understand some of the things that he did that are on his record right now. We just take all of the information that we could possibly get at this point.

“It’s early. Keep in mind that we are just to the Combine. We have a lot more research to do and we’ll do that. But right now, with the information I have right now, we haven’t taken him off our list or anything like that.” Read more »

Free-Agency Notes: Will Worilds Shake Loose?

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Jason Worilds is a name to keep in mind as we inch closer to the start of free agency on March 10.

The Eagles were interested in the 26-year-old outside linebacker last offseason but the Steelers kept him off the market by placing the transition tag on him, a move that cost them just shy of $10 million. If they chose the same course of action this year, they would reportedly have to pay Worilds closer to $11 million.

“Jason had a good year for us last year,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He is still a young player. He is probably still an ascending player. I don’t think you’ve seen the best of him, either, as a Steeler or as a potential player for someone else’s team. He is definitely someone that we will consider keeping. We will see where the market goes.”

The Steelers are currently projected to be slightly over the salary cap for 2015, and that’s without Worilds on the books. Read more »

Eagles Showing Interest In Michael Johnson

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The unofficial start to the free agency period begins at noon Saturday when clubs are able to enter into contract negotiations with pending free agents. While deals can’t be executed until March 11 at 4 p.m., many will be structured over the coming hours.

With the time nearly upon us, here’s what we’re hearing on the outside linebacker front:

— The Eagles are showing some interest in Cincinnati free agent Michael Johnson.

The 27-year-old played defensive end in the Bengals’ 4-3 scheme  but multiple teams are looking at him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Read more »

Free Agent Update: Options Open For Byrd, Ward

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

As recently as a couple days ago, it appeared the top two potential free-agent safeties would never get a chance to test the market.

But things have changed.

The Bills and Browns opted not to tag safeties Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward, respectively. Both players can continue to work on negotiating long-term deals with their teams. But neither will be hand-cuffed. In other words, if they want to test the market, they will be allowed to do so. Read more »

Combine Notes: On Worilds and the OLB Hunt

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INDIANAPOLIS – Billy Davis began his professional coaching career in Pittsburgh, learning from the likes of Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau, and in some respects is trying to build the Eagles defense in the Steelers likeness. To do so, he will have to bolster the outside linebacker position, which has long been a critical component of Pittsburgh’s attack.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has had a hand in the assembly of the Steelers’ roster  since 2000. We asked him what he looks for in an outside linebacker. Read more »