Less than two months after re-signing linebacker Jamir Jones, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced they are releasing the linebacker.
Jones played in all 17 games for the Steelers during the 2022 season. Most of his snaps came on special teams.
Steelers Announce the Release of LB Jamir Jones
Jones began his career as an undrafted rookie in 2020, but his first significant stint on an NFL team came with the Steelers in 2021.
He began 2021 on Pittsburgh’s roster, appearing in the first three games of the regular season. He started Week 3 of that season and played 20 defensive snaps versus the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Steelers waived Jones, though, after that game. He moved on to the Los Angeles Rams, where he played in 10 contests. He finished the final two games of the season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the Steelers, Rams and Jaguars, Jones recorded 10 combined tackles, including 2 quarterback hits. He played a total of 112 defensive snaps and 250 snaps on special teams with the three teams.
In 2022, Jones returned to Pittsburgh, where he played the entire season. He recorded 10 combined tackles and 1 pass defense in 17 games.
Jones played 86 defensive snaps, which was 8.08% of the team’s snaps on defense this season. He played a season-high 18 defensive snaps in the Week 1 overtime victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.
He also appeared on the field for 251 special teams snaps, which was 57.31% of Pittsburgh’s snaps on special teams in 2022. Only Miles Killebrew, Derek Watt, Benny Snell Jr. and Connor Heyward had more snaps on special teams last season than Jones.
Jones played more than 20 special teams snaps twice during 2022. Ironically, both games were against the Bengals.
Steelers Planning Another Move With Jones Release?
The timing of Jones’ release is a little odd. Teams don’t typically release players they signed six weeks earlier without any practices or workouts taking place. A new draft pick hasn’t replaced Jones yet either.
The curious timing of Pittsburgh’s departure with Jones led The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo to speculate that another move is coming soon.
“The Steelers have released Jamir Jones,” Fittipaldo wrote on Twitter. “By the end of last season he surpassed Malik Reed as the No. 3 OLB. Have to think another move is coming.”
In response to Fittipaldo, Steelers fans speculated on Twitter that the team was moving on from Jones to target former Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree.
But Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora argued on social media that releasing Jones isn’t a sign that the Steelers are making room for Dupree.
“They wouldn’t have to release Jones to make room for Dupree,” Kozora wrote on Twitter. “Plus they serve different functions. Jones a #4 special teamer, Dupree a #3 rotational guy who wouldn’t play much/any special teams.”
Another linebacker the Steelers have been linked to in the last 24 hours is Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran Devin White. ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported on April 11 that White has requested a trade because of his frustrations from contract negotiations. White is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
But Kozora can make the same argument with White that he did with Dupree — releasing Jones isn’t an indication that the Steelers are targeting White because the two linebackers play different roles.
Steelers will have to exercise some patience to see if the team does indeed have another move in mind after the release of Jones.