Following a preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the process of pulling off a trade to help bolster their linebacker depth. Announced on August 12, they are acquiring veteran linebacker Joe Schobert from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Schobert is in year two of a five-year, $53.75 million contract that he inked during the 2020 offseason. Schobert was impressive during his lone year as a member of the Jaguars, but he failed to make a large enough impact to stick around for the rebuilding process they are currently in the midst of.
Urban Meyer and the Jaguars deemed Joe Schobert expendable
After a strong four-year career with the Cleveland Browns, Schobert hit the open market as one of the top free-agent linebackers in 2020. Primarily known for his tackling abilities, Jacksonville forked over $50+ million with visions of Schobert coming in and single-handily transforming their defense from a below-average one to an elite one.
However, to little fault of Schobert, this wild dream proved to be just that — a dream.
The Jaguars won one game last year, finishing with the worst record in the NFL. This led to them receiving the number one overall pick during the 2021 Draft, allowing them to select former Clemson Tiger Trevor Lawrence.
However, it also forced them to re-evaluate their strategy at linebacker.
Joe Schobert was unable to transform the Jaguars by his lonesome
Expecting a linebacker to fix a bad defense all by themselves is illogical no matter how you slice it. Still, Schobert had dreams of specifically changing the culture in Jacksonville upon first signing there. Via the Jaguars’ official team website, the veteran linebacker spent a great amount of time highlighting the importance of bringing a winning mentality with him to the Jaguars.
“I want to prove I can be part of winning franchise,” said Schobert. “I want to be able to change the culture into a traditional winning culture, to be able to be a team that can go to the playoffs year after year and be one of the more successful teams in the AFC…”
Having now been traded to the Steelers, Schobert isn’t able to see this dream through. A goal that was always unrealistic in nature for what it’s worth. Not even Lawrence is good enough to fix the mess that is the Jaguars at the moment.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are revamping thier defense
Now a member of the Steelers, Schobert is looking forward to establishing a winning culture on a playoff-caliber team. Pittsburgh is one of the more consistent teams in the NFL under head coach Mike Tomlin. However, primarily due to injuries, 2020 was a frustrating year.
Despite opening the season with an 11-0 record, the Steelers found themselves stumbling during the closing weeks. Failing to capture their early magic, Pittsburgh was eliminated by Baker Mayfield and the Browns during the first round of the playoffs.
Schobert played all 16 games for the Jaguars last year and recorded an eye-popping 141 tackles. His presence immediately improves the Pittsburgh defense and allows Schobert to contribute to that “winning culture” that he so heavily emphasized in Jacksonville.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.