Justin Jones might not be a big-name player in the NFL but he feels like he has big-name importance to the LA Chargers. The Bolts really struggled in stopping the run in 2021 and Jones was the only player that was consistently impactful in stopping the run. While the team is going to overhaul the defensive tackle position, Jones should be brought back.
Jones is a free agent this offseason and while he is not going to have a massive market that prices him out of LA, we cannot simply assume that he is going to come back. The Chargers have let really impactful players walk away for small contracts (hi, Adrian Phillips!) and it could happen again.
5 teams that could steal Justin Jones from the Chargers in free agency:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers also struggled to stop the run in the 2021 season. In fact, Pittsburgh actually ranked dead-last in the entire NFL in rushing yards allowed per carry, allowing teams to pick up five yards on the ground per attempt. The Chargers, meanwhile, ranked sixth with 4.6 yards allowed per attempt.
The Steelers play a 3-4 defense, which Jones is now familiar with, and would be able to fit Jones into any of the top three spots. He is most natural as a nose tackle but if the team wanted to shuffle some pieces around and play him as a 3-4 defensive end then he could handle that as well.
The biggest thing on the Steelers' checklist this offseason is finding a quarterback to replace Big Ben. Whether it is the draft, free agency or via a trade, it is crucial that the Steelers find a competent quarterback as the overall roster is still pretty good. However, if the Steelers do not draft a quarterback, it will have a big financial impact.
That is why Jones makes sense. He can fit a need for the team without breaking the bank. As it currently stands, the Steelers have $41.8 million in cap space.