Steelers 2017 Free Agents Analysis: OLB Jarvis Jones – Unrestricted

Player: Jarvis Jones

Position: Outside Linebacker

Experience: 4

Free Agent Status: Unrestricted

2016 Salary Cap Hit: $2,769,933

2016 Season Breakdown:

Here is one of those big, juicy ones to discuss. Jarvis Jones is expected to hit the open market in under a month when free agency opens, and it certainly does not appear as though the Steelers intend to re-sign the former first-round draft pick.

If that is the case, then he will become the first former first-round draft pick that they have parted with within his first four seasons—outside of a trade—in the Kevin Colbert era. Of course, prior to the 2011 draft, all first-round draft picks came with five-year contracts, rather than with the fifth-year club option that the majority now receive.

But the Steelers chose not the pick up that option, an obvious signal of their dissatisfaction in his production. Yet they still gave him the opportunity to prove himself, leaving him in the starting lineup and receiving the majority of snaps in a rotation.

While he did not play poorly by any means, he was simply not productive enough, particularly as a pass rusher, to justify leaving him on the top of the pecking order when James Harrison was outperforming him on fewer snaps on pretty much a weekly basis.

After Jones made a couple of costly mistakes at the tail end of a four-game losing streak that nearly derailed their season, he was demoted in favor of Harrison, and a few games later he was benched entirely.

He did get an opportunity to start in a meaningless regular-season finale and had perhaps the best game of his career, but it was against the worst team in the league. Still, he forced a fumble, deflected a pass, and recorded a sack against Joe Thomas. Whodathunkit?

But it was his only sack of the entire season, and just the sixth of his career in four seasons and 50 games played. He has shown growth over the course of his career, and has played the run reasonably well, even making some splash plays (six forced turnovers and 10 pass deflections in his career), but the lack of a pass rush is truly damning for an outside linebacker.

Free Agency Outlook:

Which is exactly why the Steelers are not expected to be very interested in bringing him back. They already have a bevy of outside linebackers who can play the run but are not impactful players against the pass. They have no need of another one of those.

Still, it will be interesting to see what sort of deal he might fetch on the open market. Surely more than a minimum contract—remember, not even Terence Garvin and Sean Spence got veteran deals, if that is what you were thinking—but will he be handed a starting job somewhere? Has some team perhaps coveted him the way the Steelers did Ladarius Green? Might a team even consider moving him inside, or as a 4-3 linebacker?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Rusted Out

    Please get off of my beloved team. Disgrace to the uniform. Worst first round bust in the Tomlin era. Worst pass rushing OLB to ever play for the Steelers. Suck suck suck total suckage! Don’t let the door hit cha. I’d be blown away if some bottom feeder carries him to the next regular season. If you’re truly a Steeler fan, you are celebrating the end of Jarvis Jones in the Burgh.

  • Rusted Out

    Single handedly ruined a fine tradition of OLB pass rushing pedigree.

  • Iulo

    2007 – Timmons
    2008 – Mendenhall
    2009 – Hood
    2010 – Pouncey
    2011 – Heyward
    2012 – DeCastro
    2013 – Jones
    2014 – Shazier
    2015 – Dupree
    2016 – Burns

    no question…. the worst… my list from top to bottom would be:


    with Dupree and Burns still to be evaluated

  • Rusted Out

    The only player remotely close on your list is Ziggy Hood, and it’s still a pretty big gap. Burns and Dupree have shown infinitely more at their respective positions.

  • RickM

    He was just a rare 1st-round scouting error. He gave it his best most times which I give him credit for, but he wasn’t anywhere near good enough. I think you’re right that some team will see something in him and maybe use him a little differently. If forced to guess I’d say he’ll get $10M over 3 years, but that might be on the high side.

  • VaDave

    Sorry Rusty, Huey Richarson was the worst OLB to wear a Steeler Uniform. Played 5 games for us in 1991. His career highlight is a perfect zero on stats. Lasted two seasons and three teams in the NFL Hands down, the worst ever. That said, I was rather underwhelmed with Jones as well. Carlos Emmons, also cast off, was similar to Jones, great athlete, marginal football player.

  • Kevin Artis

    A serious scouting error to the point I would send that scout with him.

  • george

    Problem is they didn’t do much evaluation at all. Colbert and Tomlin admitted as much after the draft. They said they didn’t think he would be there at 17. They based their decision on that fact that he had 12 sacks his senior year in a top conference playing in a true 3-4 defense. I think it was Dave Bryan that did an analysis of his 12 sacks right after we drafted him and the analysis showed he wasn’t much of a pass rusher then.

  • VaDave

    Well put. When I saw his college highlight tape, I went to scratching my head bald wondering what in the world they were seeing in him. As you said, a rare 1st round whiff. Glad they don’t happen often.

  • george

    PS: He’ll be in Tennessee as a backup next year.

  • Sonny Saks

    If I’m not mistaken a early mock had him going #1 overall…

  • 20Stoney

    I remember that as well and was shocked that they admitted it. Guys can and do fall for various reasons in the draft. Not having a complete evaluation on him was inexcusable in my mind.

  • Mark

    Right on point, Huey Richardson was horrible, he made Jarvis look like Deebo!

  • Mark

    He peaked and retired his senior year at Georgia

  • Rusted Out

    That’s debatable. Atleast Huey could only stink the joint for a short time before they got rid of him.

  • SouthernSteel

    Jarvis is on the Atlanta Falcons top 5 FA wishlist…I guess Dan Quinn has a totally different position for him…not sure what or where..Alex or most everyone else on site might know why…but even so don’t think he’ll get more than 4 mill a year

  • SouthernSteel

    Will we get a comp pick for Jarvis?

  • Iulo

    He is for sure the worst of all….
    but not in Tomlin era…

  • VaDave

    LOL!! True, we did cut bait a fairly quickly with Richardson, but we had better alternatives at the time. It was more than obvious that Richardson was not an NFL caliber player. Comparatively, I have no doubt Jones will be on an NFL roster in 2017 and beyond. Who knows, he may become the next Crash Kreiwalt….

  • Steelers12

    next year

  • Rusted Out

    I have serious doubts anyone would be interested in Jarvis. I’m just happy he will be another teams baggage.

  • Jacob

    According to Keith Butler, his problem isn’t talent.. it’s motivation.

    After the regular season game against the Patriots, where he played very well, Butler said: ““That just tells me that he can do it all the time. If he can do it once, he can do it again. My thing with him is he’s got a ton of God-given talent that he needs to be using and he needs to understand the mental part a little bit better, and be a little bit more aware of things that are going on around him. Situational football and stuff like that he can get a lot better at and we’re just trying to motivate him to get better in those areas.”

    I guess it’s like the old cliche “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Motivation and drive is an intangible that is very hard to teach. He laid an egg against the Cowboys, but then played his heart out against the Browns. What could have been?

  • Rusted Out

    The guy had 6 sacks in 4 seasons! Are we really going to call that a problem with motivation??? Maybe he just needs a meeting with the Bob’s.

  • falconsaftey43

    Disagree that he has the talent to play the position they have him in (pass rusher). Only have to look at his college tape to see that.

  • RickM

    Butler is mistaking motivation with execution. Nothing leads me to believe that Jones didn’t want to succeed. I saw the guy run to the football, chase guys down from behind, etc. He just didn’t have the talent to replicate what we saw against N.E. on even a remote basis.

  • Kevin Artis

    I viewed his tape from my couch and knew he wasn’t going to make it. He rarely if at all beat a left tackle and was left unblocked several times.

  • RickM

    I will admit that even Mike Mayock got him wrong. He called him a ‘good football player…an impact, explosive player ready to play in the NFL’. I guess I should cut our guys (F/O and scouts) some slack, as I respect Mayock. Strange that they got it so wrong. Then again, the first 16 teams that picked before the Steelers got it right and passed on him.

  • Kevin Artis

    You’re right. I listen to Mayock more than any of the other gurus. I wish we give him a job in our scouting department or somewhere on our staff.

  • Conserv_58

    Your first sentence makes me wonder about and question, Keith Butler’s evaluation of Jarvice.

    First of all, if a lack of motivation is what Butler sees as being what’s holding Jarvice’s back then what’s that say about Jarvice’s ability to take to coaching? If he can’t be motivated by having, fire and brimstone, Joey Porter as his position coach then he doesn’t deserve to be playing in the NFL, let alone, on this team. I find this revelation regarding what Butler thinks about Jarvice to be quite disturbing.

    IMO, it all started with Kevin Colbert’s and his staff’s pre-draft evaluation of Jones. They totally whiffed on their evaluation of him. Apparently they were so enamored with his college stats that they failed to look at the big picture. There was also the fact that Jones had a slow 5.2 forty time at the combine that they simply dismissed as not being a true indication of his game speed. Well, here we are four years later and Jones’ stats are eye popping appalling, for a first round selection. Six sacks in four seasons, as a first round blue-chip prospect, is embarrassingly bad. To add insult to injury for Jones he was drafted to replace, Deebo. Not only did Jones fail to accomplish that when given the opportunity, but thirty-nine year old, Deebo took the position from Jones and never looked back.

    I don’t blame, Jarvice for his poor production because he is what he is, a mediocre, mid level talent that was vastly overrated by Kevin Colbert and his scouting staff.

    Baseball announcer’s voice as the Steelers turn in their pick for Jones: “Next up at the plate ladies and gentlemen is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The commish throws the pitch, the Steelers swing hard and… IT’S A SWING AND A MISS! Betta luck next time Steelers!

  • Conserv_58

    We agree.

  • Conserv_58

    I also like Mayock, but no draft guru is 100% right either. Heck, the hair, Mel Kiper rarely ever gets the Steelers’ pick right. I’ll take Mayock’s player evaluations over, Kiper’s all day. every day.

  • Conserv_58

    I wouldn’t say that he ruined the tradition since jarvice wasn’t a total bust. I will say that by Colbert and his staff severely overrating him and then selecting him in the first round, it set the defense back three years.

  • Conserv_58

    LMAO! You had me in agreement until you typed, Mendenhall’s name. Mendenhall was an introverted, meak, pussified whimp! He had a million dollar physique with a ten cent brain. Yeah, he put up ok stats, but he had the intestinal fortitude of a mouse in a box full of starving cats. I couldn’t stand looking at his face because he always looked like he was about to burst into tears. He had one move… spin. He didn’t run with power either. In fact, once he returned from the broken bone in jury he received from Ray he didn’t like hitting the hole face forward. He almost always turned his back to the tackler. Mendenhall had the talent, but he never had a passion for the game. Hence the reason why he retired early.

    How do you justify putting Ziggy Hoods name in that list?

  • Stephen

    Besides his stupid comments, his claim to fame was bumping Roethlisberger when the game was sealed against the Jets in the championship game, wtf was he doing..

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, in 2018, so we all should be rooting for him getting the best contract and the most playing time possible, because those factor into the comp pick formula.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Eh, I can’t say I agree with Butler. Some of his best games came against the Patriots because Nate Solder just isn’t very good.

  • Rusted Out

    Yea plenty of blame goes on the people who actually drafted him and kept him around for 4 years. I still don’t know how people can call him anything other than a bust.

  • MP34

    I have to say Jarvis Jones is one of the most polarizing players the Steelers have ever had. The evaluations on him never seemed to add up. When he was drafted, he had a slow 40 time (4.9), but many local sports writers listed him among “the young, fast Steelers linebackers.” Then it seemed he was ineffective because he lacked bulk. So then, he played one season at 240 (too light), one at 260 (too heavy.) Then, there is the lack of effort or mental focus… but, early on “he’s hitting his assignments, and in position.” The guy’s an enigma.