The Pittsburgh Steelers have hosted four free agents over the course of the past two days. Two of them signed with former teams immediately following the visit, or during the actual visit itself.
They have now nearly lost that same number of free agents as well following former first-round selection Jarvis Jones agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, also affectionately known as Steelers West.
The Cardinals have over the course of the past decade relied upon more former Steelers players and coaches than the Patriots rely on Rutgers players, and I think that’s saying something. Not that they have signed any superstar talent outside of Alan Faneca, who was signed after leaving the Jets.
Do not expect Jarvis Jones to buck the trend in spite of his previous pedigree. After all, he failed to amount to much while with the Steelers—in fact, he is the first-round pick who has spent the least amount of time with the team since they traded Santonio Holmes to the Jets for a fifth-round pick in 2010.
Even if he might not become a Pro Bowler in Arizona, however, he does have an opportunity to get the proverbial ‘fresh start’ and make a name for himself without the shadow of the ‘bust’ tag looming over his head and the rampant cold shoulder from the fan base that no doubt has not been easy to deal with over the years.
Jones has only managed to notch six sacks over the course of his four seasons, which by any stretch of the imagination is a significant disappointment for a player who was quickly installed into the starting lineup with a first-round pedigree at an edge-rushing position.
Can he possibly get more sacks in another system? Perhaps. The Cardinals are more likely to attempt to put him into situations that maximize his chances of success more frequently. He will also likely be asked to drop into coverage less frequently.
It will be interesting to see what sort of contract Jones has signed with Arizona, as it should be a pretty good indicator of what sort of role he is expected to play this year. Given that it was his first visit and he signed it quickly, I would be inclined to believe that it is a reasonable ‘prove it’ deal with decent money with all factors being considered.