2023 Offseason Questions: Why Did Steelers Release Jamir Jones?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? How might they tackle the NFL Draft? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: Why did the Steelers release outside linebacker Jamir Jones?

While I don’t suspect many fans are going to lose sleep over the fact that the Steelers let go of him on Wednesday, one does wonder why the decision was made to part company with third-year outside linebacker Jamir Jones, about two weeks ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.

A former college free agent, Jones has logged about 200 defensive snaps in his career, including 86 last season, but he’s seen over 500 snaps on special teams. He logged 251 snaps there just last season for the Steelers. This move is a bigger loss on special teams than it is on defense.

But why? There doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason with regard to timing. The release does not alter the Steelers’ salary cap figure by even a penny. They did not need to open up a roster spot to make any moves, as their 90-man roster is currently under 70. So why now? Why at all?

The Steelers are not exactly swimming in outside linebackers. In fact, they are now without both of their top backups from last season in Jones and Malik Reed, making it all that much more imperative that they address the position in a meaningful way.

The question here, though, is really the timing. Players can be released at any time, of course, and there doesn’t necessarily have to be any specific trigger, but the mind tends to wander. I’m going to decline to speculate further, as I’m sure you are already wondering as well.

The Steelers only have eight linebackers in total, inside and outside, currently under contract. They’re going to need to add at least four more at some point over the course of the offseason, I would imagine, as they like to run at least three units deep in training camp and the preseason, if not four.

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