Myles Jack was far worse for Steelers than most fans realize

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Myles Jack (51) takes the field against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Myles Jack (51) takes the field against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans had high hopes for Myles Jack in 2022, but here’s why the veteran linebacker fell well short of lofty expectations. 

When it was reported that Pittsburgh was signing Myles Jack last offseason, Steelers fans rejoiced on social media. Jack was a high-profile player who many believed should have been a first-round pick back in the 2016 NFL Draft. In fact, Jack was a fan favorite that year, but the team settled with Artie Burns.

Despite many fans and media personnel claiming that the Jack signing was going to be Pittsburgh’s best offseason move, I begged them to temper expectations. Prior to his arrival to the Steel City, Jack was coming off a pedestrian year with the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he didn’t record a single splay play of any kind — no pass deflections, forced fumble, fumble recoveries, sacks, or interceptions. Nothing.

Jack’s historic lack of play-making ability already had me worried… and for good reason. But it wasn’t just his play-making that suffered. In 2021 as a member of the Jaguars, Jack earned a 37.7 overall grade, according to Pro Football Focus — good for 76th among 86 qualifying NFL linebackers.

Sadly, we didn’t exactly see a different football player after he joined the Steelers last year. Though Jack earned a higher grade this season, it still wasn’t respectable when compared to other linebackers across the league. He struggled with consistency in both run defense and pass defense.

What’s most concerning is that, for the second year in a row, Jack failed to make a single splash play. Knowing that he’s a football player who doesn’t offer the ability to take the ball away or a niche of any kind, he has no business sticking around for the price tag in 2023.

Steelers must cut Myles Jack in 2023

I don’t care how lousy Pittsburgh’s linebacker situation is, it’s hard to justify keeping an unspectacular player like Myles Jack at his current price tag. According to Over the Cap, Jack has a cap hit of $11.25 million for the upcoming season, but the Steelers could save a substantial $8 million by releasing him this offseason.

Considering that Jack has been a below-average starting linebacker at best, it’s hard to justify writing him sizable game checks next season. Even if it means that Pittsburgh needs to start over by paying for a different linebacker in free agency and/or selecting one fairly early in the NFL Draft, it would probably be worth the upgrade at the position.

Jack was flagged for a degenerative knee issue coming out of college back in 2016, and he will turn 28 years old just before the 2023 season. It’s hard to imagine that he’s suddenly going to transform into a much better player than the one we have seen over the past two years.

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Obviously, the Steelers could still do worse when it comes to their starting linebackers, but Myles Jack is far from a great player. He was far worse in 2022 than most fans realized, and Pittsburgh can’t even consider bringing him back at his current salary cap number.