Alternative Facts: Steelers Brace For Contract Extension Talks With Jarvis Jones

Here’s something to think about: in an alternative universe, which operates under alternative facts, the Pittsburgh Steelers right now are working on a long-term contract extension for 2013 first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones.

This would be both a good and a bad thing. Of course, it would be good because it would mean that Jones will actually have played to a level that justified being given a long-term deal with the team that drafted him.

It also most likely means that he would have had his fifth-year option picked up last season. Jones’ was the first fifth-year option that the Steelers have failed to pick up since it was incorporated into the renegotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement that has been in place since 2011, though they have only drafted four such players that have been eligible to have their options picked up.

The first was their first-round draft pick in 2011, defensive end Cameron Heyward. He became a full-time starter during his third season, and the following year, the Steelers picked up his fifth-year option. The following offseason, after his fourth year, in lieu of playing under the fifth-year option, the team and Heyward agreed to terms on a long-term extension.

The year after Heyward, they used their first-round draft pick on guard David DeCastro. He was going to be a day-one starter before he tore his MCL in the preseason. But he did start late in his rookie year when healthy, and has done so since. He showed obvious growth in his third season.

The Steelers picked up his fifth-year option the following year, and, like Heyward, after he completed his fourth season, during which DeCastro earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl and was named a first-team All-Pro, he was given a long-term extension.

In 2014, the Steelers drafted inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who started right away, but injuries forced him out of the lineup during his rookie season. He has played very well, for the most part, when healthy. He played at his highest level in 2016, during his third season, and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. The team has picked up his fifth-year option, and he will be due for an extension next summer.

Jones is the missing link in the chain. And, quite frankly, he is the reason that the Steelers have well over $10 million in salary cap space right now. Had he actually played to the level that he was supposed to, he would be signed to a contract that would have easily reached eight digits, based on the current market value for premium edge rushers.

Even if he had amounted to the level of a Jabaal Sheard, he would be getting a contract that is within shouting distance of eight figures per season. And needless to say, the Steelers’ salary cap would look much different—specifically, much tighter—than it currently does. So, I suppose, if you’re looking for a silver lining over a failed first-round pick, there it is.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • pittsburghjoe

    LOL, Steelers working on an extension with JJ. Funny, that sounds like a real headline out of out of CNN’s alternative universe.

  • dany

    Change just the name in this equation, Jones to Dupree, and this situation could unfold in 2019. Perhaps in a team without a franchise QB at that point, which means wealth of cap space in some ways so the star pass rusher is retained. Return of a (hopefully) dominant defense and not much of an offense to speak of

  • Jaybird

    Yeah I just can’t seem to find that silver lining on a first round bust.
    But hey , I got a gut feeling TJ will be an absolute stud. Thats my consolation prize.

  • Steelsmoke

    Would be worth every penny if he would have laid Brady out a couple of times with a pick six he could have broken the bank.

  • Steelsmoke

    For the Steelers to survive the cap they have to have rotating starters at rookies and vets sprinkled every where. Munchack is the incredible force that makes it happen.

  • Steelsmoke

    We are so lucky he came home I hope he stays and gets rewarded and credit he deserves.

  • Matthew Marczi

    And at least they didn’t compound the mistake by just pretending it was all going to plan and re-signing him. They got his rookie contract years and moved on, as they rightly did with Hood as well.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    Thank God for the Steelers Depot. I’m not sure who has it worse right now, you, being at the part of the offseason where you have to write an article imagining a Jarvis Jones extension, or me, craving Steelers content enough to read it, but at least we’re in this together. May God have mercy on us both.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    the nightmare’s over.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    and john mitchell.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    if he had been a 2nd or third round pick he wouldnt have nearly got as much hate. he was okay vs pass and run just couldnt set the edge or rush.

  • pittsburghjoe


  • Uncle Rico.

    You wouldn’t know it from the above photo, but that was one hell of a play by Heyward as a 43 end. Stood up Fisher on the edge, immediately recognized screen. Punched Ware with his left hand and dropped him. Freed up his right enough to jump up and deflect the ball. And for all that beautiful work and self sacrifice, Fisher buried him into the sod. Man, I loved that play. It has it all. Strength, technique, awareness, intelligence, quick reaction/thinking. And fearless sacrifice, knowing the second he leaves his feet linemen like Fisher are drilled to drill him into the ground. Heyward is exactly my kind of player/Steeler.

  • HiVul

    Lol “alternative facts.” Maybe he signed the extension right after seeing the largest inauguration in history

  • Lambert58

    That photo is of a rare play where JJ actually looked like Polamalu for a brief second.

  • Ralph Wagner

    Do the coaches just plane out ask a player what is his problem, why can’t he get the job done? Do you want to play football? That’s the kicker, maybe they don’t want to play football.

  • Zarbor

    ……Or FOX fake news