The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Jarvis Jones
Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 4 Years
If I’m not mistaken, Jarvis Jones now holds the distinction of having the shortest tenure of any first-round draft pick under Kevin Colbert. While he may not have been the only one to fail to sign a second contract, he is the first—out of three, to be fair—to have his fifth-year option declined since it came into being with the 2011 draft class. Cameron Heyward and David DeCastro had theirs picked up, and Ryan Shazier’s will be an inevitability as well.
Jones has, in fact, already found a new home for himself in Arizona, where seemingly so many former Steelers have ended up over the course of the past decade for one reason or another. The number of former Steelers coaches and players on the coaching staff I suppose may have something to do with it. But I digress.
Entering his fourth and ostensibly final season, Jones began the year as the starting right outside linebacker ahead of James Harrison, and even saw the bulk of the playing time, though Harrison was still leaned more heavily upon in the more important situations.
He did show improvements, and generally played the run well, even getting after the passer on occasion without actually bringing him down, but it’s hard to justify keeping somebody in the starting lineup at outside linebacker if they’re not going to pick up sacks.
His only sack of the season in fact came in the meaningless regular season finale against the Browns, and it happened to come against Joe Thomas. That in fact may have been the best game of his career, also recording a pass deflection and a forced fumble.
But he was only playing in that game because it meant nothing to the Steelers’ playoff future. Harrison had surpassed him on the depth chart several games go, and in fact had begun to take all of the snaps, leaving Jones on the bench.
It’s kind of hard to imagine a player improving much more after four seasons. I’m not exactly expecting some surprise awakening in him out in Arizona. While he isn’t a bad player, he simply doesn’t do the most important task of his position well enough to justify much playing time.