Ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers elected to go with Joshua Dobbs as their backup quarterback for the 2018 season, former backup Landry Jones has not had an easy go of things, finding it equally difficult to both get and then retain a job. He has had a cup of coffee with a couple of different NFL teams, but now he appears set to dip his toes in another pool.
The XFL reported yesterday that Jones is going to be participating in the league’s showcase in Houston tomorrow, June 8th, one of eight scheduled events scheduled to take place between today and July 13th in or near each of the league’s host cities.
— XFL (@xfl2020) June 6, 2019
One of the league’s franchises is based in Dallas, and Bob Stoops has been named their head coach. Jones played under Stoops when he was at Oklahoma, so there is already a connection there. If he doesn’t hook up with an NFL team, he may be starting for the Dallas XFL team.
As described on the event page for the Summer Showcases, the purpose of the events, which include player workouts, is for the teams to “evaluate talent for the XFL 2020 season. Much like the Combine, teams will gather background information and measurables about players, participating in both athletic testing and workouts and interviews with teams.
The XFL is still piecing together its coaching staffs for its eight still unnamed franchises, so they don’t have players under contract yet or anything, but this is the first step in that process as they prepare for their launch in February of next year.
Jones was a fourth-round pick for the Steelers in 2013 and served on the bench for most of his first three seasons behind Bruce Gradkowski. When Gradkowski was injured, however, Mike Vick was brought in to replace him.
In a game against the Arizona Cardinals, Vick left the game with an injury of is own following an ineffective performance. Jones inherited a score deficit, but helped the team come back with two touchdown passes to Martavis Bryant.
He remained the Steelers’ backup quarterback since then up until last season, though he struggled in his next game, a start against the Kansas City Chiefs a week later. He has two career victories over the Cleveland Browns, including an overtime win with a game-winning touchdown pass to Cobi Hamilton.
After the team traded up to draft Mason Rudolph in 2018, it was obvious that either Dobbs or Jones would have to go. Most expected it to be Dobbs, as Jones was the proven veteran and Rudolph represented the future.
Jones received little playing time in the preseason that year—after all, it was his sixth season in the league—but Dobbs put up strong numbers and convince the coaching staff that he could handle the role. Jones was released and remained out of a job until the Jacksonville Jaguars signed him at the end of October.
He would be released a few weeks later after they faced the Steelers. Earlier this offseason, he signed with the Oakland Raiders but was released a few weeks ago and has yet to find an opportunity with another NFL team.
Another former Steelers quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, did participate in the AAF earlier this year. Mettenberger, who was the team’s number three quarterback in 2016, was the backup for the Memphis Express at the start of the season but eventually got a chance to start, winning his first professional game ever, before getting injured. He did not return before the league folded.