It's an All or Nothing Friday for the Steelers.
With just a shade over $1 million in cap space - enough to theoretically head into a season knowing the precious space that's left would be eliminated the minute any significant injury that couldn't be replaced internally occurred - the Steelers wouldn't be likely to enter the season without making some kind of cap-freeing roster move. However, they do have a team on which they could sit until after June 1, when the contract of LaMarr Woodley falls off the books for this year, freeing up $8 million in cap space.
That said, if the team is going to sign a veteran free agent running back for their offseason training program, they're going to need to free up a bit more.
It's not impossible the team just decides to take their chances after the draft and minicamps to see what's still out there in free agency. LaRod Stephens-Howling was acquired on Day 2 of the NFL Draft last year. In fact, he's in free agency now, rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in Week 1. They could give him a ring later this spring as well.
The visit they've been having with LeGarrette Blount is reportedly going from Thursday into Friday, and if there is any legitimate interest, a roster move from the Steelers will have to come with it - assuming Blount's money in 2014 couldn't be fit under this year's cap.
It would seem Blount could get a bit more than $1 million for a cap charge in 2014, but that's not a guarantee - just a likely assumption. It's probably linked to the same reason Maurice Jones-Drew, another potential signing, is likely to sign in Oakland, as of Friday morning.
The Steelers would have two different paths to travel here attain their goal. They could sign an experienced veteran to back up a talented Le'Veon Bell, a player who had multiple injuries during training camp and was sidelined the first three weeks of the season, or they could just lean on the draft and undrafted free agency to find players who can fill in that role.
The former is expensive, the latter is risky. It almost seems as if a roster move of some kind (the announcement of an extension for transition-tagged Jason Worilds or a restructured deal for Lawrence Timmons being the most likely benefactors) is inevitable, whether that would be used for a running back or not.
Something's gotta give, and maybe that's Art Rooney II's wallet.