2019 South Side Questions: Would Landry Jones Be Starting Right Now If XFL Let Him Go?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.

The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.

How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph, and now Devlin Hodges? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Would Landry Jones be the Steelers’ starting quarterback right now if the XFL were willing to release him from his contract?

Oh boy, what a thing to be contemplating this week. Allegedly, following Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury, and after having already traded away Joshua Dobbs, the Steelers were interesting in re-signing former quarterback Landry Jones, who had been signed to the XFL. Unlike the AAF, however, the XFL is not willing to play nice with the NFL, and they supposedly declined to release him from his contract.

That poses an interesting series of questions, first and foremost being, did this really happen? Were the Steelers really going to sign Jones after Week Two? What would that have meant for Mason Rudolph? And obviously, for Devlin Hodges?

While Hodges would have surely been still signed, at least to the practice squad—he was already on the practice squad when Roethlisberger was injured—the likelihood of the series of events that have led to him starting right now drastically decreases. So we may have never seen him get a chance to start.

The more prudent question is this: would the Steelers be worse off right now if it so happened that the Steelers signed Jones? As many of you know, I was a ‘fan’ of Jones, relatively speaking, and it seemed the prudent move at that time to try to re-sign him if he were an option.

Afterall, he would be the only quarterback to throw a pass or start a game, at that time. He’s made NFL-level throws and won games—without Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Maurkice Pouncey—so I don’t dismiss outright the notion that this 53-man roster the way it’s constructed could still win games. It’s not like they’re putting a ton on Hodges’ plate.

That said, I know what the overwhelming response is going to be. Landry sucks, we would be under .500 with him, etc., etc. He’ll always be a whipping boy to most.

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