At the moment, the Steelers currently do not have a running back under contract on the roster. Rashard Mendenhall is an unrestricted free agent, Chris Rainey was waived, Baron Batch is an exclusive rights free agent and Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are restricted free agents. Although there has been some speculation that Redman could sign an offer sheet from another team, I believe he will be back with Dwyer and Batch. I really do not think the team is going to use a high draft pick on a running back even though many are predicting that to happen.
I do think they are going to at least try and shake something up at the running back position with the comments Steelers president Art Rooney II and General Manager Kevin Colbert made to Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest.
Although many would argue that the fact that the Steelers are going to be tight against the cap again that it will preclude them from signing anyone at all in free agency. Let me say that their number priority should and will be resigning Keenan Lewis with anyone else a distant second. That being said I still think they will find a way to sign a few less expensive free agents like they’ve done in the past with guys like Larry Foote, Cedrick Wilson and Mewelde Moore just to name a few from over the years.
Normally I wouldn’t think the team would try and sign a guy like Ahmad Bradshaw because he isn’t just a role player, he would be a major contributor. When you read the article I have listed above and read comments like “Where we were in the running game last year was indicative of the talent at the position,” from Kevin Colbert however, I start to think they may try and really upgrade the position. Drafting a guy high is never a guarantee, see Rashard Mendenhall, which is why I think it is more likely they sign a veteran rather than go that route. Bradshaw would be a perfect fit for the Steelers in my opinion and would complement the bigger backs that the Steelers already will have on the roster.
Where I think Bradshaw would help the team most would be on third down and in passing situations. Bradshaw has shown to be a good receiver and is also a good blocker which would help the team keep Ben Roethlisberger from getting killed. At only 26, Bradshaw still has a lot of football left in him however, he has had to deal with a multitude of injuries in his career to this point which will prevent him from getting a huge contract in my opinion this offseason after being cut by the Giants.
A team could step up and give Bradshaw a ton of money which would then knock the Steelers out of the running but I still think the team should at least consider the veteran running back to try and bolster their struggling rushing attack.