Entering the 2017 off-season, the Pittsburgh Steelers knew there was a chance they could be looking for one starting linebacker. They knew there was a chance they could end up saying goodbye to Lawrence Timmons. But it appears that they may be losing another linebacker—Jarvis Jones.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers took Jarvis Jones in the first round of the 2013 draft, they thought they were getting a hard-hitting playmaker. He certainly was one during his career at Georgia. But his game hasn’t quite translated to the NFL as well as they had hoped.
He played well enough as a rookie to earn a starting job entering the 2014 season. But an injury ended his season early and opened the door for James Harrison to return. He came back towards the end of the ’14 season, but Harrison has remained the starter.
— The UGA Vault (@TheUGAVault) October 13, 2016
Last season, Jones played in 14 games and recorded a career-high 41 tackles to go with two forced fumbles and an interception.
The Steelers didn’t think enough of Jones to lock him down with a new contract before the start of free agency. But they haven’t closed the door on bringing him back. However, he is getting interest from several teams. There is a chance someone else could see more value in him than the Steelers have and snatch him up.
If the Steelers can lock up Dont’a Hightower, they will not care about Jones. But signing Jones will not be easy to do. As one of the top linebackers in the game, he will command a healthy salary. The Steelers may have a hard time meeting his salary demands.
However, he is a much better player than Jones. It is not hard to see why they are interested in Hightower. But if they focus too much on Hightower and try to put Jones in a holding pattern, there is a good chance Jones will just head elsewhere.