It was disappointing news when the Pittsburgh Steelers lost unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Tyson Alualu to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday. Perhaps not wanting to lose too much depth on its D-line, on Thursday Pittsburgh stepped up and signed Chris Wormley to a two-year contract, this according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.
Terms of the agreement have not yet been announced. Wormley tweeted the following visual in the wake of the news.
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Chris Wormley’s First Season in Pittsburgh Was Underwhelming
Wormley didn’t make much of an impact in 2020 after coming to Pittsburgh in a March 2020 trade with the Baltimore Ravens. All told, he appeared in 13 games with one start, recording eight total tackles, one sack and three quarterback hits while playing just 14 percent of the team’s snaps on defense, not to mention five percent of the special teams snaps. To be fair, he wasn’t necessarily healthy all season, as he suffered a knee injury against the Tennessee Titans and missed three games after he was placed on injured reserve on October 31st.
In fact, one of Wormley’s more memorable moments last year came not on the field but on the sideline, when he stepped between fellow defensive linemen Carlos Davis and Isaiah Buggs and put an end to their scuffle.
Over the course of his five seasons in the NFL, Wormley has played in 52 games (16 starts) and has accounted for 62 total tackles (38 solo), 3.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and 12 quarterback hits. He was drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft (No. 74 overall) out of the University of Michigan.
The Future of Pittsburgh’s Defensive Line
But with Alualu leaving in free agency, the Steelers will be looking for several young defensive linemen to step up and play larger role in supporting starters Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt.
Candidates include the aforementioned second-year nose tackle Carlos Davis, a 2020 seventh-round pick out of Nebraska, as well as defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas, a former sixth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks who was added to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in November and has since been re-signed to a Reserve/Future contract.
In terms of defensive end depth, the Steelers have: rising third-year player Isaiah Buggs, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 Draft; Henry Mondeaux, out of the University of Oregon, who saw his first NFL playing time in 2020 after entering the league in 2019; and 6-foot-9 defensive end Calvin Taylor, who was added to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in September and signed a one-year Reserve/Future contract in January.
In 2021 the Steelers will be attempting to extend a franchise record for most consecutive seasons with 50+ sacks, while also attempting to attempt to tie the NFL record, which stands at five. That record is held jointly by three teams—the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team. All three of those clubs set the mark between 1983-87.
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