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Jarvis Jones Decision Looms Large Over Steelers

April 22, 2016
2 minutes read
Jarvis Jones Decision Looms Large Over Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have until May 2 to decide whether 2013 first-rounder Jarvis Jones has earned a fifth-year option, which will cost the team well over $8 million.

Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long, New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro and Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei are among players getting the option, which tacks onto the standard four-year deal using a formula based on positional worth. Here’s a good breakdown of that formula from CBS Sports’ Joel Corry. For Jones, the 17th pick in 2013, the salary is $8.369 million.

Here are a few live NFL lines by reasons for and against optioning Jones. The biggest con is hard to ignore.

Reasons for the option

* Showed growth in the playoffs, playing well against the run and forcing a brilliant sack with a slick move on tackle Andrew Whitworth in the AFC wild-card game.

* He plays “violent” football, as Mike Tomlin said.

* James Harrison turns 38 in May

* Pairing Jones with Bud Dupree helps the Steelers develop a pair of first-rounders for the future.

* He fought back from a wrist injury that plagued his 2014 campaign.

Reasons against the option:

* Five sacks in three seasons

* Five sacks in 36 career NFL games

* One sack for every 7.2 NFL games

* Hasn’t solidified himself as the long-term answer despite having plenty of time to do so.

My take: Sacks equal money for outside linebackers. Hard to think the Steelers want to pay that much for him for one season. Do I think Jones can be better than what his numbers say? Yes. Which is why the Steelers have a few options here. They can give him the option in hopes that he validates the money. Or, they could mirror the Texans’ approach with Whitney Mercilus, who didn’t get the option but eventually signed a sensible four-year deal worth $26 million. I could see the Steelers making efforts to keep Jones at a cheaper per-year cost than the 2017 payout.

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