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Steelers use transition tag on LB Worilds

| Monday, March 3, 2014, 4:24 p.m.

Jason Worilds might not be on the Steelers roster next season, but it is going to be their decision.

The Steelers ensured that on Monday when they placed the transition tag on the unrestricted free agent linebacker. The transition tag guarantees the Steelers the right of first refusal to match any other offer the player gets with another team. It was the first time the Steelers used the transition tag since 2008, when they placed it on tackle Max Starks. Cleveland used the transition tag on center Alex Mack on Monday as well.

The transition tag will cost the Steelers $9.754 million against the Rule of 51 salary cap number that each team much meet by the start of the NFL's new year on March 11. The franchise tag would've cost the Steelers $11.455 million

If a team signs Worilds, the Steelers will have five days to match the offer and retain his rights. If the Steelers don't match the offer, they do not get compensation for losing Worilds.

If no team offers Worilds and a long-term contract with the Steelers isn't signed, Worilds will play on a 1-year deal worth $9.754 million.

The Steelers had until 4 p.m. Monday to designate any free agent with the franchise or transition tags.

The designation ensures that the Steelers will not make a decision on veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley until after Worilds' situation is known. Woodley is set to count $13.6 million against the cap this year and would likely be released if the Steelers retain Worilds.

Woodley, a second-round pick in 2007, has missed 14 games and parts of six others since signing a $61.5 million deal in 2011.

Worilds was drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech. In his career, Worilds has started 21 regular-season games and registered 18 sacks and three forced fumbles. Last season, he set career highs in starts (11), tackles (54), sacks (eight) and forced fumbles (two).

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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