Not surprisingly, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided against picking up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker Jarvis Jones this offseason and as a result of that he’ll be scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016 season is over. On Wednesday, the Steelers former first-round draft pick out of Georgia was asked if he was surprised by the organization’s decision to not pick up his 2017 option year.
“It’s their decision, it wasn’t mine at all,” Jones told the media. “Obviously they made a decision. Like I said yesterday, its only motivation for me so I’m just going to continue to work hard and get ready for the season.”
Jones was then asked if he expects to have a big season in 2016.
“I feel great,” said Jones, who told the media that he conducted his offseason training in Atlanta, Georgia. “I definitely have confidence in myself. [I’ve] had a great offseason thus far and I’m just going to continue to take it day-by-day.”
The extra motivation that Jones now has hopefully will result in his best professionally season to date even though that won’t be hard to accomplish being as he’s only registered 87 total regular season tackles and 5 sacks during his first three years in the league with the Steelers.
“Obviously I have to be more productive than I have been the past three years,” Jones said, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think everybody knows that, and I know that myself. Nothing’s changed.”
Being as veteran outside linebacker James Harrison appears set to play one final year in 2016, he will more than likely platoon with Jones once again on the right side this season just as he did in 2015. Even so, Jones should still have plenty of opportunities to increase his future value in 2016.
As you can tell in the linked video, Jones appears to have a huge chip on his shoulder as the team continues their annual OTA practices this week and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Regardless of how he plays this year, Jones is likely about to play his last season in Pittsburgh unless the team decides to use the franchise or transition tag on him prior to the start of the 2017 league year. That would be nice decision for the Steelers to be faced with as it would mean that Jones had an exceptional 2016 season.
“Knowing that this could be your last year here, what better way is there than to end on a high note,” Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said of Jones, according to Jacob Klinger of Penn Live. “I think he’s got the right mindset. He’s got to take advantage of every opportunity he gets.”