Steelers Lose Promising Linebacker to Super Bowl Contender

Jamir Jones

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Jamir Jones on August 12, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers waived outside linebacker Jamir Jones on Tuesday, September 28, to make room on the roster for fellow linebacker Derrek Tuszka. According to NFL reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala, Pittsburgh hoped to re-sign Jones to its practice squad, provided he cleared waivers. Except the Los Angeles Rams foiled that plan by claiming Jones.

Now the 23-year-old Notre Dame product will have the opportunity to try to take his career to the next level with the undefeated Rams (3-0), who remain one of the leading Super Bowl contenders in the NFC following Sunday’s 34-24 home win over the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to Greg Beachum, who covers the Rams for the Associated Press, Los Angeles claimed Jones “because he has put some good stuff on tape.” Indeed Jones did put good things on tape — during the preseason, when he collected four sacks and six quarterback hits.

Jamir Jones’ NFL Journey

But Jones has been much less impactful since the regular-season got underway. Thanks to injuries to starting outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, Jones started the first game of his NFL career this past Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. All told he played 36 defensive snaps and 29 special teams snaps in Pittsburgh’s first three games, during which time he recorded three solo tackles and a quarterback hit, per Pro Football Reference.

Jones signed with the Steelers in early April after a workout at Notre Dame’s 2021 Pro Day, which was attended by general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin. He got his first chance in the NFL in the spring of 2020 when he was signed by Houston as an undrafted free agent, but his tenure with the Texans lasted just a matter of days.

“I was in Houston last year for about a week-and-a-half. The first whole week I was quarantined. And then I was there for like three days. We did workouts in the weight room and then they cut me,” he recalled during a media scrum in early September.

That said, it’s fortuitous that he got another chance to impress at Notre Dame’s most recent Pro Day, which allowed him to escape working retail.

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The Steelers Lost 2 OLB’s to Waiver Claims in September

As for the Steelers, they remain somewhat lacking in terms of outside linebacker depth. After the aforementioned (injured) starters, the Steelers have veteran free agent acquisition Melvin Ingram, plus Tuszka and recent practice squad signee Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.

By virtue of Jones being awarded to the Rams, the Steelers have lost two up-and-coming outside linebackers in the past month. The first occasion came on Sept. 1, when the New York Giants claimed 2021 sixth-round pick Quincy Roche (Miami), who has appeared in just one game to date — playing three special teams snaps.

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