Sunday, January 16, 2022

Steelers could show up as “eligible applicants” for ex-Pro Bowl RB, analyst says

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The Pittsburgh Steelers could look to a veteran to join Najee Harris in the 2022 season.

According to Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson, the Steelers could emerge as “viable suitors” for Melvin Gordon. Gordon spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos, charging for 1,904 yards and 17 touchdowns at 418 carries (4.5 yards per attempt).

“Despite his starting values, Najee Harris hasn’t been very efficient this season,” says Robinson. “But who can blame him? The rookie has played more snaps (862) than any other running back in the NFL. Harris’ Snap share of 84.8% leads the league by a whopping margin as no other RB broke the 70% threshold (Jonathan Taylor is runner-up with 67.5 percent).

The Steelers haven’t given any depth behind their starting return this year, but that hasn’t always been their strategy. In 2015 and 2016, Pittsburgh had veteran DeAngelo Williams behind the workhorse Le’Veon Bell. Gordon could play a Williams-esque role in relieving Harris, limiting the number of snapshots the latter can take, and potentially helping him become more effective.

The Steelers rely heavily on their rookie to run back to start the offensive – as his percentage of Snaps clearly shows. While Harris obviously doesn’t have much wear and tear at this stage of his career, Pittsburgh wants to avoid their starrunner kneeling – especially if Ben Roethlisberger is about to retire.

Gordon is no longer young (he will turn 29 in 2022), but he remains productive in a complementary role. Gordon spent the entire 2021 season sharing the backcourt with rookie Javonte Williams as the Broncos led the league in hasty touchdowns (16).

While Gordon will certainly have no shortage of admirers – he ran for 918 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns to lead the Broncos in 2021 – he won’t have “big” money on the market. There is less emphasis on the value of running backs. Despite being productive over the past two seasons, Gordon will likely make less than he made over the past couple of seasons ($ 8 million per season, $ 13.5 million guaranteed).

With a $ 45 million cap space entering the 2022 offseason and 41 players currently under contract, it will be a bargain for Pittsburgh to get Gordon on a contract under $ 8 million a year to oblige.

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Not long after Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson scored the game-winning 47-yard field goal to eliminate the Los Angeles Chargers – and bring the Steelers into the postseason – Steelers fans inundated Carlson with donations to charities to whom he is connected.

The Raiders kicker has taken note of the contributions of the Steelers fans and thanked them via his social media account.

“@Steelers, please thank your fans for making generous donations to charities I’ve been a part of!” Said Carlson. “I’m adding some links below for anyone else who wants to join the fun! PLAYOFFS !!! “

Had Carlson missed the kick, the game would have ended in a draw. If it did, both the Raiders and Chargers would make it to the postseason and shut out the Steelers.

Carlson may not be a member of the franchise, but he will forever go down as a hero in Steelers lore.

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