There isn’t much else to do while we sit here and wait for news about whether or not there will even be training camp, so it seems as good a time as any to bring back this series, in which we look to introduce some of the new players that the Pittsburgh Steelers have added to the mix since the end of the 2019 season.
The team added some notable pieces in free agency, which was important, because they didn’t have much to work with in terms of draft capital due to previous trades. They also made liberal use of the XFL’s closure, signing about as many players from there as the rest of the league combined. Even while claiming that they didn’t have a lot of roster room, they still signed a good number of rookie college free agents as well, enough that they had to release three players just to make room for them.
Pittsburgh’s depth along the offensive line, from the top all the way to the bottom, including the practice squad, had become enviable in recent years. They turned a backup in Chris Hubbard into a starter for the Browns. A player that they released in R.J. Prince is still with the Ravens after spending all of the 2019 season with them on the practice squad.
But that depth took a heavy hit since the start of the 2019 season. Already during the year, they lost Fred Johnson and Patrick Morris off waivers. In the offseason, Ramon Foster retired, and then B.J. Finney left in free agency.
The Steelers knew that they needed to replenish some of the organizational depth here, including at the practice squad level, which is why they signed a number of offensive linemen who had participated in the XFL during its 2020 season, including tackle Jarron Jones.
Oddly enough, he was a college defensive tackle out of Notre Dame, and at 6’6”, 320 pounds, he fit the bill. Jones was originally signed as a college free agent by the New York Giants after he went unselected during the 2017 NFL Draft.
He would log 51 preseason snaps for the Giants that year, but failed to make their practice squad. Instead, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks, which would prove to be a short tenure, but finished the year on the Dallas Cowboys’ squad.
Despite being signed to a futures contract, Dallas let him go at the start of the 2018 offseason program. After a short reunion in New York, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him up, and he lasted until the middle of October on their practice squad.
Over the next season and a half, he would spend time in Washington, Detroit, and Buffalo before winding up with the XFL’s New York Guardians, where he started every game at left tackle, though he had his struggles, including seven penalties.
After the league folded, the Steelers showed interest, and signed him on April 20, marking the eighth different NFL organization he has been a part of since entering the league in 2017.