Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: OLB Jamir Jones
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: The Steelers announced on Wednesday that they released outside linebacker Jamir Jones. As of this writing, it is unclear why the move was made, or why it was made now in the weeks leading up to the draft. The team saves no cap space by the move nor would they have any need to open up a roster spot.
Why did the Steelers release Jamir Jones? Why did they release him now? These are the questions that we as Steelers bloggers get to ponder regardless of their relative significance to the grander picture, even of the football team.
It’s not uncommon for seemingly random releases to be made every so often, though typically there would be some clear rationale for it. The Steelers save nothing in cap space by waiving Jones, nor did they have any need to open up a roster spot (they currently have under 70 players against a 90-man roster).
Regardless of the why, the what is the focus now. So what does his release mean in practical terms? Well, this is more a move about special teams, because he logged over 250 snaps for special teams coordinator Danny Smith during the 2022 season, establishing himself as a core four-phase player on all return and coverage units.
Was he a standout? Well…no, perhaps not particularly. He did not have a high volume of special teams tackles, just four on the season, but he was a good, solid contributor, the sort of player the coaches will appreciate more for what they see him doing on film than what a fan looking up stats would ascertain.
It should be noted that he was also the top remaining reserve outside linebacker from last season after Malik Reed left in free agency. Actually, Jones played ahead of Reed, who was inactive, in the final weeks of the season, though that’s not saying much.
His departure only heightens the need for the Steelers to acquire depth at outside linebacker. Only now they likely need at least two new additions rather than one. Could one of those be Bud Dupree? Certainly. But they’ll have to find him a buddy because the likes of Emeke Egbuke and Chapelle Russell will probably not cut it.