The Pittsburgh Steelers have no plans of using a transition tag on Jason Worilds and will let the outside linebacker hit free agency on March 10, a league source told ESPN.com Wednesday night.
Worilds has 15½ sacks the last two season, the most by a Steelers player during that span, and could be one of the more coveted pass rushers in free agency. But the Steelers will let the market establish his value before deciding if they want to bid on the fifth-year veteran.
The Steelers paid Worilds $9.754 million in 2014 after they used a transition tag on the former second-round draft pick to keep him from unrestricted free agency.
Teams have until Monday to use either a franchise or transition tag on one of their impending free agents.
Worilds turns 27 at the beginning of March and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said recently that the organization believes he is still an "ascending player."
But the Steelers are content to look for help at the position in free agency and the draft even though Jarvis Jones is the only outside linebacker on the roster who is signed for 2015 and has NFL experience.
The Steelers have been busy clearing room under the salary cap even though teams don't have to be in compliance with the 2015 spending ceiling until March 10, the start of the NFL's new year. They have restructured the contracts of right tackle Marcus Gilbert and free safety Mike Mitchell, turning base salary and roster bonuses into signing bonus that can be spread over the length of the contract and saving a little more than $6 million.
The Steelers could also restructure the contract of center Maurkice Pouncey, a source said, though it has not happened yet.
The salary cap is projected to be $143 million in 2015, a $10 million increase from last year and Steelers are more than $7 million over the projected cap. They are allowed to re-sign their own free agents before the start of the open signing period.