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Jarvis Jones to sign with the Cardinals after they lose key defensive players

The linebacker is stepping out of James Harrison’s shadow.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

After four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, linebacker Jarvis Jones is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He’s the second biggest signing on defense for the Cardinals this offseason, next to Chandler Jones.

The Cardinals have seen some key defensive players depart in free agency. Calais Campbell signed with the Jaguars, and Alex Okafor signed with the Saints. In their defensive backfield, Tony Jefferson signed with the Ravens, Marcus Cooper signed with the Bears, and D.J. Swearinger signed with Washington. Linebacker Kevin Minter is also reportedly visiting teams.

In the final year of his rookie contract with the Steelers, the writing was on the wall, when after eight games, Jones lost his starting role to James Harrison. The linebacker was then inactive for the AFC North Division game against the Ravens, and considered by some to be the team’s scapegoat. Harrison also signed a two-year contract extension after the season, effectively closing the door on the Jones-era in Pittsburgh.

During his time with the Steelers, Jones amassed 128 total tackles (83 solo), 6.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. He missed most of the 2014 season due to a wrist injury that landed him on IR — during which time the team signed Harrison as a replacement.

Jones was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Georgia, with the 17th overall pick in 2013. Fans are quick to argue he didn’t live up to the first-round hype, but he is still young and could end up being a dynamic edge rusher.