Landry Jones had game experience and familiarity running the offense on his side. It wasn’t enough to keep his job as backup quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers on Saturday announced the roster moves to establish the initial 53-man roster, and veteran backup signal-caller Landry Jones was among the cuts.
The fifth-year veteran had his contract terminated as the Steelers decided to go with second-year player Joshua Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph as the backups to Ben Roethlisberger. Jones had served that role since the middle of the 2015 season.
As a vested veteran, Jones doesn’t have to clear waivers and immediately becomes a free agent. Jones was scheduled to make $1.9 million this season, the last of his two-year deal with the team. It’s conceivable the Steelers could try to re-sign him.
The Steelers will lose Jones’ experience in case Roethlisberger is unavailable for any amount of time. But this move indicates that they believe their young QBs — Dobbs in particular — are capable of stepping up to the plate.
Dobbs’ impressive performance during the Steelers’ preseason finale against the Panthers may have played a big part in convincing the coaching staff he was ready for a bigger role. He went 8-of-12 for 151 yards and a passing touchdown, and also added 18 yards with a rushing score. Teammates liked what they saw from Dobbs, who garnered at least mild trade interest.
"I told (Dobbs) I was proud of him," said running back Stevan Ridley. "For a young guy to come in and play the way he did tonight is exceptional. He rose to the occasion."
The Steelers are likely to rely on Dobbs as Roethlisberger's primary backup as Rudolph continues to develop in his rookie season.