There could be a scenario where he is playing at a starter level but not starting. I don't need "starts" tabbed to evaluate him...But that would mean Worilds exploded & Woodley returned to form. Great problem to have. This will be the one I pull for as a Steeler fan. New CBA for 1st rounders gives an option 5th year. Cap hit is reasonable over the contract if he has to remain a back-up. That would put Woodley at 31 years old after the 2015 season and Jones in year 4 to be starter. Releasing/Trading Woodley at that point would only be 2.9 cap hit with no restructures. The only problem with this scenario is the Steelers will have to absorb cap hits of 13.6 mil & 14 mil in '14 & '15 on Woodley. If he is being productive...Well worth it. Jones would start at 27 years old and get another contract from Steelers.
One thing that will interest me this offseason. To see if they decide to give Worilds or Carter reps inside. The Steelers seemed to have waited for the draft to end to issue any "real" Spence updates. Taking into account those updates, the Steelers still decided not to address ILB early. Sly never showed me anything and allowing him to test FA suggests they have no confidence he is the guy. There have been reports about McFadden but I'm not on board until I see it. Rolle is the guy who I think could surprise. I'm actually higher on him than anyone behind Timmons & Foote. They drafted Williams but he has to show he could be a 3 down player. So, is there a plan in place? I think the Steelers are in a situation where they will have to keep the best LBs and not look strictly at depth chart when it comes to the 53. I think Timmons, Woodley, Worilds, Foote, Jones, Carter, Robinson, & Rolle will end up showing they are the most talented. They may have to cross train some to create better depth inside. Spence to IR and Williams to PS. I don't think there will be enough seperating Sly & McFadden inside to warrant keeping them over the OLBs. Injuries & keeping 9 LBs could change things but I think they need to keep the best football players.
It depends upon how crucial the Special Teams role is for the backup LB...
Jones, or anyone playing LB, will only be as good as the guy in front of him. I think that is the part of the defense the Steelers are seeing a decline in.
That's a given...They have to play ST. Sly has been pretty good on ST but not untouchable. If they decide to go with 9, it may come down to Sly vs Williams.
Williams looks to be further along than Sly inside because of his style of play. He seems to have pretty good instincts and he closes quick. Difference between them is Williams seems to be the traditional shed & tackle run stuffer while Sly seems to be a chase & tackle LB. Which means Williams may be better in a 3-4 & Sly may be better as a Wil in a 4-3. I think for Williams...coverage questions, the back injury, & the broken leg in the spring of '12 hurt his stock. Sly may be a slighter better athlete and that helped him on ST...But at some point you have to get in the positional battle. I fail to believe Williams couldn't duplicate what Sly gave them on ST. He seems to have more upside inside and could turn out to be a steal if he could show coverage abilities. That may be an issue of not being asked to do it at FSU rather than can't do it. Williams reminds me alot of Earl Holmes style of play coming out.