Player: Jarron Jones
Experience: 0 Years
Free Agent Status: Exclusive Rights
2020 Salary Cap Hit: $142,800
2020 Season Breakdown:
At 6’6” and 320 pounds, Jarron Jones out of Notre Dame was an interesting prospect. A former undrafted free agent, he had kicked around the league—even around different leagues—before dropping at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ doorstep.
In fact, Jones had actually just played in the XFL before the Steelers signed him last Spring. Unfortunately, we had no access to training camp this past year and there was no preseason, so we had no way to gauge how he was performing or developing.
The only reason that we know that he must have done well enough to attract some attention is due to the fact that he made the initial 53-man roster, and he stuck there all year. Even that is something of a minor miracle.
During the season, at the start of October, Jones was arrested and charged with aggravated assault following a domestic dispute with his partner. Some of the details were grim, accused of strangling his girlfriend and hitting her in the face with a video game console.
The only thing that we ever heard from the Steelers is that they were “aware of the incident” and were “gathering all of the details”. The year before that, Kameron Kelly, a former AAF safety who was on the 53-man roster and was getting playing time, was released after he was arrested.
It’s still not clear to me why the Steelers never cut ties with Jones, given their pattern under similar circumstances. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been any update as far as his charges go, but they must have had some degree of comfort surrounding the circumstances and his behavior relative to the accusations.
Were it not for the arrest, the most notable thing about Jones would have been the fact that he is a former defensive lineman who made the transition to the offensive side of the ball. The Steelers are not unfamiliar with this route, with Alejandro Villanueva having spent some time on the defensive line (though he also started at tackle in college), and with another former practice squad player in Brian Mihalik, who even ended up starting a game against the Steelers.
Free Agency Outlook:
The only thing that distinguishes Jones from other practice squad players who signed a futures contract is the fact that he finished the season on the practice squad injured reserve list. He was signed to a futures deal along with Trey Edmunds, who was also on the reserve list and was later waived, separately after the group of practice squad players all inked their contracts.
He will be in competition this Summer—assuming that he makes it that far. But in actuality, the Steelers have quite a bit of depth at tackle, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he doesn’t even make it to training camp.