Player: Landry Jones
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2016 Salary Cap Hit: $784,805
2016 Season Breakdown:
If there is one thing that we have been able to establish over the course of the past four years, it is that Landry Jones is not one of the most popular players on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster. Many didn’t even want to see a quarterback drafted in 2013, and so were already against him from the beginning, but many more have simply been left wanting after watching him play.
The Steelers did get exactly what they always want out of their backup quarterbacks during his first two seasons, however, which is, literally, nothing. Jones did not even dress for a game during his first two years in the league, which means that Ben Roethlisberger, and his immediate backup, remained healthy for the entire duration of that span.
The team wasn’t nearly so fortunate over the course of the past two years, as Roethlisberger missed four games due to injury in 2015, and then another in 2016, in addition to sitting out the regular season finale.
In the game that he missed due to injury, Jones was asked to start against the Patriots, the eventual Super Bowl champions, home Roethlisberger would also later lose to in the postseason. In that game, Jones completed 29 of 47 passes for 281 yards, completing one touchdown and one interception.
It was a mixed bag showing for Jones, although I don’t think the quality of opponent was given enough credit, with New England’s defense being largely overlooked for most of the year.
When given the opportunity to start in the regular season finale, he did so without much of his primary supporting cast, which obviously had a negative effect on his ability to excel, but he did complete 24 of 37 pass attempts for 277 yards and three touchdowns versus one interception for a quarterback rating over 100 and the first victory of his career in a game that he started and finished.
Free Agency Outlook:
The Steelers do like Landry Jones and they would like to bring him back. Beat writers have suggested that they haven’t seen much from Zach Mettenberger to suggest that they can head into the 2017 season with him as Roethlisberger’s backup.
But that doesn’t mean that the team will be able to work out a new contract with Jones prior to the start of free agency in a couple of weeks. In fact, comments from the team’s general manager certainly seemed to suggest that that is most likely what will happen, and that it would behoove Jones to do so.
I must say that I am interested to see what sort of market ends up being out there for Jones. He has completed just over 60 percent of his passes for his career for 1071 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per pass attempt, with a seven-to-six touchdown-to-interception ratio. I think it’s unlikely that he is offered a legitimate opportunity to start, and makes his way back to Pittsburgh.