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Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams considered the 2nd best free agent acquisition in 2015

The Steelers brought in a veteran to backup Le'Veon Bell, and DeAngelo Williams has been worth every dime as he has filled in tremendously for the injured All Pro Bell.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were searching for an insurance policy for Le'Veon Bell entering the 2015 season. After watching their young All Pro running back injured in Week 17 of the 2014 season and having to turn to Ben Tate, Dri Archer and Josh Harris in the 2014 AFC Wild Card game vs. the Baltimore Ravens, the team realized they needed depth at running back.

They had attempted to add veteran depth to the backfield prior to the 2014 season when signing LeGarrette Blount, but after his release fans and teammates were left to watch Blount hoist a Lombardi Trophy with a Patriots' jersey over his pads. This became the struggle for Pittsburgh. Trying to find a back up who was a team-first player, accepted his role as back up to Bell and would be capable of filling in if Bell was injured again. Oh, and also for the right price as the salary cap-strapped Steelers can't afford to sign big-name free agents.

The man they selected was DeAngelo Williams, and you don't have to tell Steelers fans how great the former Carolina Panthers running back has been for Pittsburgh in 2015. In fact, Mike Sando of ESPN.com ranked Williams 2nd in terms of best free agent acquisitions in 2015.

See what Sando had to say about Williams and the Steelers' decision to sign him to a contract prior to the 2015 season.

2. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Contractual value: The Steelers signed Williams for two years and $4 million with the thought he could help out early in the season, when starter Le'Veon Bell was suspended.

Production: Williams ranks 13th in rushing yards with 799 on 178 carries, good for a 4.5-yard average. He ranks sixth among NFL running backs in PFF grading.

Lasting lesson: Age 30 is not necessarily a career death sentence for running backs, but if you're going to sign an older back (Williams is 32), make sure it's for the right money. In this case, the Steelers also knew they would lean heavily on the pass this season. They were not going to place the offense on Williams' shoulders even if Bell became unavailable, which he did.

The Steelers putting their money on Williams has paid huge dividends for the team in Bell's absence. Williams has improved his pass catching skills, is a tremendous pass blocker and, with a leaner frame, has shown the speed and agility which made him famous in the NFL while with the Panthers.

Most Steelers fans who are reading this might be wondering who is first on this list, if Williams is second? Here are the Top 5 free agents, according to ESPN:

1. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
2. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Kurt Coleman, S, Carolina Panthers
4. Jabaal Sheard, OLB, New England Patriots
5. Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Carolina Panthers

The Steelers now look at their final 2 games of the regular season and will hope to ride Williams into the postseason, and hopefully to the organization's 7th Lombardi trophy.