Jones likely will have to battle 2017 fourth-round pick Joshua Dobbs for a roster spot, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports.
Pittsburgh's decision to draft Mason Rudolph in the third round hints at disappointment with Dobbs as a developmental project more so than any issue with Jones, who has served as Ben Roethlisberger's top backup since midway through the 2015 season. However, the Steelers could clear up some cap space by keeping Dobbs instead of Jones as their No. 3 quarterback, if they deem Rudolph ready to handle the No. 2 role. The team can save $1.9 million by releasing Jones, compared to only $275,438 for Dobbs, per OverTheCap. Jones may thus need to beat out Rudolph in order to stick on the roster ahead of Dobbs.
Jones completed 23 of 27 passes for 239 yards, with a touchdown, an interception and a fumble, and ran three times for minus six yards in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Browns. He had attempted just one other pass this season, which was incomplete, and ran a total of eight times for minus two yards in three games.
Jones got the start against Cleveland, as Pittsburgh basically conceded home-field advantage to New England. His performance as Ben Roethlisberger's backup over the past five seasons has been lackluster, completing 108 of 169 passes for 1,310 yards, with eight touchdowns, seven interceptions and two fumbles in 18 games, including five starts. He'll likely face competition from Joshua Dobbs for the backup job behind Roethlisberger next season.
With the heavily favored Patriots expected to clinch the No. 1 seed with a victory over the Jets in Week 17, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin will use the regular-season finale to rest several key regulars. That includes Ben Roethlisberger, who will be replaced by Jones in what marks the former Oklahoma standout's fifth career NFL start. With a 59.9 percent completion rate and 7:6 TD:INT ratio for his career, Jones doesn't profile as a particularly appealing fantasy option, especially with the team's top two pass catchers, wideout Antonio Brown (lower leg) and running back Le'Veon Bell (coach's decision), both inactive.
Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert said Thursday that Jones will serve as the Steelers' starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Browns, Tim Benz of TribLive.com reports. "Ben [Roethlisberger isn't] there [Sunday], so [Cleveland will] get a little taste of Landry Jones. So we don't know what to expect from them. We'll have Landry Jones in there." Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has yet to confirm that Jones will start in place of Roethlisberger.
Though the Steelers have secured a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs, they could still claim home-field advantage throughout the postseason with a win and a Patriots loss to the Jets in Week 17. With New England a heavy favorite in their game, however, it appears the Steelers may already be conceding a Patriots victory and will instead turn their attention to resting key players Sunday, if Gilbert's comments are to be believed. Jones was evasive when asked if he would start against the Browns, telling Benz that it was a "coach's decision." More information on the status of Roethlisberger should be known no later than shortly after inactives are released about 90 minutes before the Sunday's 1 p.m. EST kickoff, in the event Tomlin declines to comment on the matter beforehand. In spot action across his five seasons in the league, Jones has completed 59.9 percent of his passes and has a 7:6 TD:INT ratio, numbers that won't necessarily make him attractive fantasy dart if he does in fact receive the start. Jones' upside would be further limited without the Steelers' top two playmakers in Le'Veon Bell -- who Gilbert also said would sit out Sunday -- and Antonio Brown (lower leg) flanking him.
Jones (abdomen) completed 21 of 31 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Saturday's 19-15 preseason loss to the Colts.
Like starter Ben Roethlisberger, Jones was logging his first preseason action Saturday. He looked sharp overall and found Xavier Grimble for a 10-yard touchdown in the third quarter, although he did snuff out what was likely the Steelers' final hope for victory by throwing an interception in the end zone with under five minutes to go in the contest. Jones is once again slated to serve as Roethlisberger's top backup in the coming season, and given the latter's injury history, he could well see action at some point in 2017.
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