What is going on right now with Pittsburgh Steelers free agent running back James Conner as the NFL is now more a week into the 2021 league year? Not much, quite honesty. In fact, he and Steelers free agent tackle Alejandro Villanueva have both received a very cold shoulder in their first attempts at unrestricted free agency. Conner, has, however, reportedly had at least one team show some interest in him recently and that team was the New York Jets.
According to NFL reporter Manish Mehta on Twitter, before the Jets recently signed running back Tevin Coleman to a one-year deal, they had discussions with Conner. They also reportedly pursued running back Chris Carson during the first wave of free agency as well and prior to him re-signing back with the Seattle Seahawks. Carson, by the way, agreed to a three-year contract worth up to $14.625 million that included a $4.5 million signing bonus.
So, what’s Conner’s market value right now? Its hard to imagine it being more than $3 million per season and that’s more than half what Pro football Focus estimated him being worth per season ahead of free agency starting.
Is it possible that Conner could return to the Steelers on a one-year deal? Its hard to say for sure but if he did, it would likely include him needing to accept the veteran minimum, $990,000, because of the salary cap crunch the team has this offseason.
Assuming Conner can’t find a team willing to pay him more than the minimum on a one-year deal, he might just be better served just laying low for a while as injuries are bound to happen at the running back position once training camps and the preseason gets underway. There’s no reason for Conner to get in a hurry to sign any deal at this point and especially one that pays him less than $2 million for just one season.