clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Remaining Running Backs the Steelers could still target in Free Agency

New, comments

If the Steelers look to free agency for another running back, players are there. BTSC looks at free agents still available at the RB position.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers acquisition of Knile Davis helps bolster the running back corps, but depth is still an issue at the position. The Steelers do have the best RB in the league in Le'Veon Bell. However, the previous two years they had the luxury of DeAngelo Williams to fill-in for the sake of injury or suspension. Williams is still available, but the team has not asked him back, that we know of. The Steelers are most likely going to add a RB this spring in the draft. The backup roles could solely fall to Davis, Fitz Toussaint and a rookie or the Steelers could pick up another veteran in free agency. There has not been a rush to sign rushers and there are a lot of big names out there. Adrian Peterson is on the list, but he's nowhere near the equation and LeGarrette Blount is available, but that bridge was burned back in 2014. Besides Peterson and Blount, here are a list of more realistic possibilities for the Steelers to add.

Jamaal Charles - Kansas City Chiefs

Okay, not realistic either. Very unlikely to happen, but it would be cool to have a healthy Charles backing up Le'Veon Bell. But remaining healthy isn't guaranteed for Charles. The 30-year old running back has only started 5 games the past two seasons. He's looking for a starting job and just left Seattle without a deal. A mystery team has now emerged and a visit has been planned, but odds are it isn't in Pittsburgh.

Isaiah Crowell - Cleveland Browns

The Browns RB is only 24 and had a productive 2016 in an otherwise horrendous season in Cleveland. Crowell averaged 4.8 ypc behind a pourous offensive line and reached the end zone seven times. The Browns put a second-round tender on Crowell. Reportedly, four teams have expressed interest in the third-year back. He would be a great understudy to Bell, but he has had off-the-field issues and a second round pick for a player who would essentially serve as a backup doesn't make sense. In fact, it doesn't make sense for either party.

Mike Gillislee - Buffalo Bills

It would cost a fifth round pick to acquire the services of Mike Gillislee. As a backup in Buffalo in 2016, the Florida Gator averaged 5.7 ypc on 101 attempts. He also hit paydirt nine times last season. The. Ills would have right of first refusal, but a fifth rounder of this caliber would be a steal for the Steelers. I woluld look long and hard at Gillislee.

Tim Hightower - New Orleans Saints

Hightower is a fresh 31 year-old because of a three-year hiatus due to injury woes. Since returning to the league in 2015, Hightower has been valuable down-the-stretch for New Orleans with four scores the last two campaigns. Roughly the same age when Deangelo Williams came to Pittsburgh, Hightower could provide value.

Chris Johnson - Arizona Cardinals

Before he fractured his tibia late in 2015, Chris Johnson was ably resurrecting his career. Johnson isn't the speedster he once was, but the 31 year-old would be a valuable backup to any team. Kicking the tires on Johnson wouldn't hurt. He'd be more starter-ready should Bell get injured than Davis or Toussaint.

Other Notables:

Rashad Jennings - New York Giants

Brandon Oliver - Los Angeles Chargers

Chris Thompson - Washington Redskins

Matt Asiata - Minnesota Vikings

Fozzy Whitaker - Carolina Panthers

Khiry Robinson - New Orleans Saints