Over the course of the next few months, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to decide whether or not to pick up the fifth-year (2017 season) option on outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. While Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t asked that particular question about Jones on Wednesday during his end of the season press conference, he was asked if the Georgia product has turned out to be a different player than the one they thought they drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
“He’s what we thought,” said Tomlin of Jones, who recorded 27 tackles and 2 sacks during the regular season. “Some of the things that he does we saw on tape. He wasn’t a tough evaluation because he played in a scheme that very much did the things that we ask him to do. He’s a young guy that’s evolving as a player. It was good that he was able to go over the course of the journey this year without sustaining major injury and missing bulk of time in terms of dealing with things of that nature. His arrow’s pointed up, but it needs to be. He’s a disruptive guy, he’s good at games, he’s good versus the run. He’s growing and evolving in all areas, but we expect him to.”
While Jones did start 15 regular season games this past season, in addition to both playoff games, he only played 454 total snaps. In fact, fellow outside linebackers James Harrison, Arthur Moats and rookie Bud Dupree all played more snaps than he did. That’s discouraging for a former first-round draft pick in his third season.
While Jones probably doesn’t deserve to have his option year picked up during the offseason, the Steelers might just do it being as it won’t be fully guaranteed until the first day of the 2017 league year. Regardless of whether or not that option year is picked up in the coming months, the Steelers are almost certain to draft yet another edge-rusher in the first three rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Here’s one final stat for you. In addition to his 2 sacks during the 2015 regular season, which included one full and two halves, the Steelers have Jones down for 3 total quarterback pressures. Sure he was asked drop quite a bit into coverage, but those pass rushing stats are horrible regardless of that. If Jones’ arrow is indeed pointed up, I’d hate to see what it looks like pointed down.
Jones’ option year is expected to be well over $8 million.