Steelers keeping two of their own
PITTSBURGH — Free to test the market — and maybe make more money in the process — for the first time in his career, Landry Jones opted to stick with the Pittsburgh Steelers instead.
The backup quarterback signed a two-year deal on Thursday to remain with the Steelers as the primary backup behind Ben Roethlisberger.
It was the biggest move during a quiet opening day of free agency for the reigning AFC North champions, who typically take a methodical approach to free agency, often focusing on re-signing their own free agents before going shopping.
Jones’ return gives the Steelers some stability behind Roethlisberger, who still hasn’t said publicly he’ll be back for the 2017 season. Roethlisberger hinted after a loss to New England in the AFC championship game he needed to take stock before committing to a 14th season, though Pittsburgh’s front office is operating with the understanding that the franchise’s all-time leader in every significant passing category will be there when organized team activities begin in the spring.
Jones has played well at times over the past two seasons while filling in for Roethlisberger. He threw for 558 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions across four games in 2016, including 281 yards in a Week 7 loss to New England and a career-high three touchdowns in a Week 17 victory over Cleveland.
Jones will turn 28 next month and coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have shown they’re comfortable with Jones at the control.
Pittsburgh also brought back blocking tight end David Johnson on a two-year contract. Johnson serves primarily as a sixth offensive linemen while opening holes for running back Le’Veon Bell.
Johnson caught just seven passes for 80 yards last season and has 31 receptions for 304 yards in 98 games with the Steelers and the San Diego Chargers.
— The Associated Press