With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: The Steelers will add a veteran back sometime before the regular season who will make the team.
Explanation: The Steelers carried four running backs on the 53-man roster last year. They didn’t bring one of them back, and the fourth-string back hardly played. They didn’t sign any veterans in free agency nor draft any, only signed two college free agents. Many are not sold on Benny Snell as a strong number two back and worry about Najee Harris having too much of a workload—and there being too much of a drop-off when he’s not on the field.
It’s pretty much a given that the Steelers will add a veteran sometime between now and the start of the regular season. They have done it pretty much every year for a while now, in some form or fashion, whether it’s Joe Schobert or Vance McDonald or Felix Jones or Brandon Boykin or J.J. Wilcox, on and on down the line.
There’s a long-established history of the team adding to what will eventually be the 53-man roster once they get to training camp, and there’s a good bet that they’ll be looking at running backs, given how unproven their backfield is behind Najee Harris and—to a much lesser extent—Benny Snell.
While there may be some justifiable concerns about the Steelers’ depth at running back, that doesn’t guarantee there are answers waiting out there. I have advocated for signing somebody like Phillip Lindsay before, but he’s not out there anymore. The most notable name of note off the top of my head is David Johnson, and he seemingly indicated that he’s not that interested in playing for cheap. He said it was “unfortunate” he couldn’t come to terms after taking a visit with the New Orleans Saints, so good luck with that.
The bottom line is that the Steelers view Benny Snell as their number two back. The number three hardly even matters, and they like the rookies they have if Anthony McFarland doesn’t pass muster.