The Steelers had something of an extended flirtation with free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw this offseason.
That affair appeared to be over Thursday, as multiple sources, including USA Today, reported Bradshaw was close to signing a contract with the Indianapolis Colts.
The USA Today reported late Thursday those talks cooled a bit, and while the two sides are still talking, it's not quite as close to completion as it was earlier in the day.
It seems similar to what happened in Pittsburgh. After Bradshaw received clearance from one doctor regarding his surgically repaired foot, and all systems seemed "go" for Bradshaw to join the Steelers, the two sides suddenly parted, the Steelers signed LaRod Stephens-Howling, then drafted Le'Veon Bell, and Bradshaw was an after-thought.
What exactly is Bradshaw doing?
The NFLPA released a memo last month requesting any evidence that may have been obtained by agents suggesting owners are conspiring to keep veteran contracts at lower prices than their market value may otherwise indicate. Bradshaw has been medically cleared, but walked away without a deal in Pittsburgh and Green Bay - two teams that invested highly and heavily in the running back position in free agency and the draft, respectively.
Perhaps Bradshaw is asking for too much. Year in and year out, young running backs are entering the NFL and having large amounts of success, suggesting paying a free agent running back huge sums in free agency is counterproductive to managing a team in a salary cap-controlled environment.
If Bradshaw is holding out for more than a veteran minimum deal, that's his prerogative. Teams could fairly argue, medically cleared or not, he's an injury risk and the tread on his tires may not justify a contract worth more than that.
As it is, Bradshaw's the one without a job. He can wait to see if injuries to other running backs spring up during and after minicamp, but time is running out. If he wants a job, he may have to take a smaller deal.