Coach Mike Tomlin says players make the most improvement from the first to their second NFL season, and the Steelers especially need for that to happen with rookie Jarvis Jones given the potential moving parts they have at outside linebacker, and Jarvis himself understands that.
“I’ve got to get big and strong, man,” Jones said.
Jason Worilds is going to be an unrestricted free agent. LaMarr Woodley makes too much money relative to his recent production to return at the current rate. He will at least have to accept a pay cut to be back in 2014, and the offseason uncertainty at outside linebacker is such that there is a chance, albeit a remote one, that Jones could be among the most experienced players at his position when the Steelers convene training camp.
Jones didn’t bite when asked about that possibility, and that is because he knows how important this offseason is for him regardless of what happens with Worilds and Woodley, who has a salary-cap hit of $13,6 million in 2014 and is a candidate to get released.
“I’ve got to work harder than I ever did before, physically and mentally,” said Jones, who had just one of the Steeles’ 34 sacks this season. “Get in the best shape I’ve ever been and I’ve got to continue to try and learn and grasp this game of football the best way I can.”