Jarvis Jones long-term future in Pittsburgh is in doubt now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have declined to pick up his fifth year option, according to reports by DKonPittsburgh Sports and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
— Jason Mackey (@Mackey_PGH) May 3, 2016
The NFL’s 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement mandates that all drafted players get offered four year contracts but allows teams to pick up a fifth year option for first round picks.
- The Steelers picked up the fifth year option on Cameron Heyward and David DeCastro, their 2011 and 2012 first round picks.
The Steelers decision not to pick up Jarvis Jones isn’t simply a break from standard operating procedure, but it is tantamount to vote of no confidence in their 2013 first round draft pick. Going into the 2016 NFL Draft, many commentators felt the Steelers might pick an outside linebacker, or “edge rusher” with a premium pick.
But the Steelers didn’t draft an outside pass rusher until taking Travis Feeney in the 6th round, yet Pittsburgh is still willing to risk allowing Jarvis Jones to become a free agent following the 2016 NFL season.
This is such a clear no-confidence vote on the part of the Steelers because while Jones 5th year option would have been guaranteed for injury, the Steelers could have rescinded the offer before 2017, as the Washington Redskins did with Robert Griffin III.
Had the Steelers picked up Jarvis Jones’5th year option, they’d have been on the hook for $8.369 million on the first day of the NFL’s 2017 league year, but that figure would have likely set the starting point for long-term contract negotiations.
More telling yet will be how the Steelers handle the depth chart below their starting quartet of outside linebackers. If both Anthony Chickillo, 2015’s 6th round pick and Feeney both make the 2016 roster than there’s a good chance that the Steelers are projecting that they’ll be there in 2017.