On December 2nd, 2020 the stories of Chris Wormley and Bud Dupree intertwined an a eerie way to show that sometimes timing is everything in the NFL.
And that’s bad news for Chris Wormley as he reaches free agency.
Capsule Profile of Chris Wormley’s Career with the Steelers
The Steelers traded for Chris Wormley in March 2020, marking a rare interdivision trade. The Steelers used Wormley sparingly for most of the year. However, his snap count spiked to 45% in that fateful December game against the Ravens. Although Wormley didn’t do much of note during 2020, the Steelers resigned Wormley the next spring to a two year deal.
In 2021 Wormely became the defacto starter thanks to Stephon Tuitt’s retirement and Tyson Alualu’s season-ending injury. He logged 7 sacks, batted down 3 passes, made 6 tackles for losses and hit quarterbacks 10 other times. His best game by far was a 2.5 sack effort in the Steelers upset of the Ravens at Heinz Field.
With that said, he played 71% of the snaps on a Steelers defensive front that was historically bad against the run – and let’s be clear, Cam Heyward was not the weak link up front.
In 2022 his workload dropped thanks to the arrival of Larry Ogunjobi, and the only splah play he made was a half sack against the Ravens at home. That was also his last game of the year, as he tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season.
The Case for the Steelers Resigning Chris Wormley
So maybe Chris Wormley’s 2021 performance was a bit of an achievement. It still shows he has serviceable skills and can provide valuable depth. Bringing him back on a team-friendly deal is a no-brainer.
The Case Against the Steelers Resigning Chris Wormley
Cam Heyward’s not getting any younger. Larry Ogunjobi might not be back. Isaiahh Loudermilk failed the make the 2nd year leap (if anything, he regressed.) The Steelers need defensive lineman, but they need more than bodies.
Save the roster spot, if not the salary cap space, on someone who has legitimate “Upside” because Wormley does not.
Curtain’s Call on the Steelers and Chris Wormley
Chris Wormley saw his first extended action in the same game where Bud Dupree tore his ACL. Dupree was coming off of a career year. Things might not have worked out well for him in Tennessee, but he still got paid.
- Wormley’s not so lucky. He tore his ACL at the end of a year where his effort was rather middling – at best.
He can still be a good 4th or perhaps 5th lineman for the Steelers, but given his injury and his subpar year, his next contract is likely going to be for the veteran minimum.
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