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Free Agent running back options for the Steelers following Le'Veon Bell's suspension

With news breaking Thursday of Steelers' RB Le'Veon Bell's 3-game suspension, the team might want to look into a veteran running back who could help bridge the game between DeAngelo Williams and the inexperienced running backs.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were given the news Thursday of Le'Veon Bell's 3-game suspension to begin the 2015 season. With the news, it begs the question if the Steelers should look to add another free agent running back to their roster to help bridge an obvious experience gap between newly acquired DeAngelo Williams and Dri Archer and Josh Harris.

There are still capable options on the free agent market, and having the extra security certainly could be warranted if the price is right. Here is a list of options for the Steelers if they choose to go the free agent route to answer the obvious question now left on the running back depth chart:

Pierre Thomas - Thomas played 2014 with the New Orleans Saints and was able to rush for 222 in 11 games, but what might be most attractive about Thomas is his ability to catch the football out of the backfield. Thomas had 378 yards receiving on 45 receptions. As Williams is not known for his ability to catch the football out of the backfield, Thomas could certainly help in Bell's absence.

Steven Jackson - Jackson rushed for 707 yards in 15 games with the sub-par Atlanta Falcons in 2014. Although not accomplished catching the ball out of the backfield, Jackson would certainly make an interesting duo with Williams in Bell's absence. Jackson hasn't drawn much attention in free agency, and could be an solid and cheap option for the Steelers.

Knowshon Moreno - Although tearing his ACL in week 6 of the 2014 season, if Moreno is healthy at the beginning of the 2015 season he would certainly be worth the phone call. In 2013, he rushed for 1,039 yards and had over 500 yards receiving with the Denver Broncos. Coming off an injury could also bring the cost of the player down, which would benefit the cap strapped Steelers.

Chris Johnson - Yes, he got shot in the arm at the beginning of March, but you can't get away from Johnson's production before going to the New York Jets. After all, most players who go to the Jets see a dip in production all around. Johnson had over 1,000 rushing in every season in the NFL before his 2014 stint in New York. Johnson is a bit of a wild card, but could be a good compliment to Wililams in Bell's absence.

Ben Tate - The running back who filled in for Bell in the 2014 AFC Wild Card loss to the Baltimore Ravens is still available. Tate played in 2014 for the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings before testing the waters in Pittsburgh. Tate's attitude has been called into question in the past, and teams have to wonder if it is even worth the hassle to bring the free agent in for a look.

Bell's absence for 3 games leaves a gaping hole in the Steelers' offense. Although the suspension could be reduced after the appeal goes through, the Steelers have to wonder if they want the inexperience at RB behind Williams heading into the first 3 games of the season. The Steelers are 0-4 without Bell in the lineup, and if 2013 taught the organization anything, it is they can't afford another slow start.