The Steelers announced they have inked first round LB Jarvis Jones to a four-year contract. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. This makes Jones the 7th of 9 picks signed, and, of course, the most important draft pick brought under contract.
Jones, who has been slowed so far in OTAs by a hamstring injury, will be expected to contribute immediately with no clear starter opposite Lamar Woodley at OLB for Pittsburgh. For his part, Jones seems excited about having the contract phase over with, and being able to focus on football. Per Steelers.com:
“I think it’s a blessing. I wanted to get it out of the way so I can continue to focus on my career," said Jones. "The organization and my agent did a great job of getting it out of the way so it won’t be a distraction going into training camp. I’m going to be fully focused and ready to go out there and give everything I’ve got to help my teammates.”
Jones will compete with former second round pick Jason Worilds, who, while yet to live up to expectations, is not seen as the dark horse in this competition by any means. In Pittsburgh you have to earn your starting role and Jones has two strikes against him so far being a rookie and having an injury that limits him in OTAs. Competition at OLB should be one of the most intriguing battles in training camp, and now that the contract distraction is out of the way, let the battle really start.
Update per Ed Bouchette:
Steelers sign Jarvis Jones for $8.5 M with $4.7 M signing bonus over 4 years, 5th year club option
Steelers sign Jarvis Jones for $8.5 M with $4.7 M signing bonus over 4 years, 5th year club option— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) June 3, 2013
Looks like a good contract and I am excited about the 5th year option. Gives the team some control without the risk given Jones potentially shortened career (which I doubt is an issue, just saying).
To give the contract context, last year's 17th pick Dre Kirkpatrick, CB with the Bengals, signed for four years and $8.6 million.