As many of us expected, the Pittsburgh Steelers have opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
Jones, who is entering the final year of the four-year contract that signed after being drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, will be allowed to test free agency next offseason if the two sides don’t work out an extension prior to the start of the 2017 league year. The Georgia product is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $1,592,115 in 2016. Had the Steelers picked up Jones fifth-year option he would have been scheduled to earn $8.369 million in 2017.
Jones, who has registered all of five sacks during his first three seasons in the league, now has every incentive in the world to have a solid 2016 season with the Steelers. With that said, he’s still likely to platoon on the right side of the Steelers defense in 2016 with veteran James Harrison, who appears set to play out the final year of his current contract.
As things stand right now, one would think that the Steelers will be looking to draft another outside edge-rusher in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft being as Jones, Harrison and Arthur Moats are all likely playing their final seasons in Pittsburgh. The team did, however, address the outside linebacker in this year’s draft with the selection of Washington product Travis Feeney in the sixth-round. Additionally, the Steelers also spent two draft picks on edge-rushers last year that netted them Bud Dupree and Anthony Chickillo.