Landry Jones Becomes First Player Signed By XFL

Exciting news on the Landry Jones front, folks. The eagle has landed. Yesterday, the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback became the first player to sign with the XFL, of course with many to follow. The league held eight Combine-like events dubbed Summer Showcases that were hosted in or near the host cities of each of the eight teams, and Jones was among the participants at the Houston event, the most high-profile name on the list.

Arguably, he would have been the most significant name in the Alliance of American football as well, at least before Johnny Manziel was signed to play for the Memphis Express just two weeks before the league folded. Trent Richardson was another prominent name in his market.

Like the AAF, the XFL is also a collective entity. Rather than being a constitution of 32 separate ownership groups, as the NFL is, the XFL is the owner of all eight of its teams and runs the whole ship from a central location, loosely, hiring individuals to run each team.

The league intends to bring in eight players that they deem ‘Tier One’ quarterbacks, with Jones being among them. Each team will choose from among these quarterbacks before the league holds a draft to fill out the remainder of the rosters.

Jones was a fourth-round pick of the Steelers in 2013. He spent his rookie season largely on the bench as the number three, sitting behind veteran Bruce Gradkowski, who was signed earlier in the same offseason to replace Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich. His second season remained much the same.

Things changed in year three. Gradkowski was injured in the preseason, but the Steelers signed Mike Vick to replace him. After Ben Roethlisberger was injured, Vick, too, suffered an injury in a game against the Arizona Cardinals, who were among the best teams in the NFC at the time. Jones came in and with the assistance of Martavis Bryant commandeered a fourth-quarter comeback.

He did start the following week as well in a loss, where he has his ups and downs. Worse still, he looked quite poor when he had to come in off the bench against the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs later that year.

But in the games that he started over the course of the following two seasons—generally, regular season finales against the Cleveland Browns—he performed better, most consistently, and looked more comfortable doing it.

In 2017, the Steelers drafted Joshua Dobbs to be the number three quarterback. They added Mason Rudolph in 2018 in the third round because they liked his potential as a future starter. The popular consensus at the time was that Dobbs would be the odd man out.

But he played well enough to convince the coaching staff that he could man the backup position, and that resulted in Jones being released. He struggled to find work with other organizations thereafter, spending a brief period of time with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2018 regular season and then on the Oakland Raiders’ offseason roster before being released.

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