Last week Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette wrote that Jason Worilds turned down a long term contract offer from the Steelers. In his morning blog, Bouchette wrote, “Turns out, the Steelers made Jason Worilds a multi-year contract offer awhile ago, sources say. His side did not accept it. I have no idea what that offer was, but I am told that offer stands and they will go no higher, that he either takes it or plays this season for the $9.7 million one-year deal he signed as their transition player.”
The post received lots of attention from national media, and many a story was churned out about it. I’m going to refrain from going off on a tangent about how the sports writing ecosystem works, at least how it pertains to the Steelers. I’ll just say that a lot of it is more about clicks than facts.
Back to Worilds and his offer…or lack there of. Today Trib reporter Mark Kaboly writes that Worilds had no such offer from the Steelers. Here’s what Kaboly wrote about the matter.
“I was told that Worilds was not offered a contract by the Steelers and that there have been no talks between the two sides since Worilds agreed to the transition tag three months ago. It was recently reported that Worilds rejected a contract offer by the Steelers, which remains on the table.
“An absolute lie,” the person said.
It is not unusual for there to be two different stories during contract negotiations. In fact, it’s the norm, so take it for what is worth. Worilds would not comment on his contract situation when I asked, and that’s about status quo for him. Worilds is a very quiet and guarded individual that would never talk about something as sensitive as his contract situation.”
Perhaps both reporters are indeed talking to team sources with knowledge of the subject. There is no indication from either writer who their source was, or if it was even a source who is affiliated with the team, or with player representation- and that’s completely fine. It’s par for the course.
Worilds and his camp hold all the cards in contract negotiations, and have since he accepted the transition tag. Who knows what’s really going on behind closed doors in terms of negotiations, but the transition tag certainly poses an obstacle for the Steelers while trying to work out a long term extension. It may very likely be that the team will let Worilds play out this season as a “prove your worth” year, and wait until 2015 to either transition/franchise him, or negotiate a long term deal.