The end of the NFL Draft usually correlates with teams adding a flurry of veterans to their roster. In part, this is to take the compensation formula out of the equation, these signings are guaranteed not to factor in next season, and in part it’s teams adding veteran depth at positions they couldn’t address during the draft.
It’s led some Pittsburgh Steelers fans to believe there should be an impending reunion with linebacker Myles Jack. I’ve gotten the question several times on Twitter already. To offer a short answer, no, Jack shouldn’t return. There’s no need, no benefit for Jack to be brought back.
His March release didn’t come as much of a surprise, with a contract his play couldn’t justify. Signing him back now would be much cheaper. Even still, he wouldn’t serve a purpose. Pittsburgh overturned its inside linebacker room for a good reason. They didn’t get enough production, enough splash, from that unit last season. Forced fumbles, interceptions, tackles for loss, those guys just didn’t make those plays, Jack included. There were plenty of tackles, 104 of them, but only three of those were for a loss (of the 41 LBs who had 100+ tackles last season, only two players – Jordan Hicks and Devin Lloyd – had fewer) with no sacks, no interceptions, and only three pass breakups.
But the stat sheet doesn’t tell everything. The tape is all you needed to see. Jack’s body was breaking down the back half of last season. Always on the injury report with knee/groin ailments. Missing games. And he quickly began losing his role in the defense. In Week One, he played 87% of the defense’s snaps. Over the last three weeks, he hovered around 1/3 of the time and logged just six snaps against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. Watching him late in the season, he simply couldn’t run or move anymore. It was painfully obvious how uncomfortable he looked out there.
Is he healthy now? Maybe. Probably. But get him back into a camp and try to play him through a season and you’re gambling on him staying that way.
Even if he was signed back, what’s his role? Cole Holcomb is a clear, every-down starter. Elandon Roberts was signed to a two-year deal as a run-down hitter. Mark Robinson showed promise and will be a player to watch in 2023. Jack doesn’t have a defensive role. And if you don’t start at ILB, you better play on special teams. Jack isn’t going to do that either, not at a level that would be acceptable.
So there’s no role or purpose in signing Jack back to the roster. Wouldn’t start, wouldn’t play special teams. Pittsburgh turned the page. Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, and Jack are out. Holcomb, Roberts, and special teamer Tanner Muse are in along with Robinson’s expected jump in Year Two. There’s no need to go back to the well. There’s no need to bring back Myles Jack.