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After losing Rashard Mendenhall to the Arizona Cardinals via free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a need at running back.
Former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw would be a low-risk option for the Steelers at a discounted rate.
If Bradshaw passes a physical on Thursday, the Steelers will attempt to sign the 27-year-old, according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.
Pittsburgh is concerned about Bradshaw’s salary demands—given the club is just $2 million under the salary cap—but Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that Bradshaw’s injury concerns could lower his demands. If the Steelers can free up a bit more cap space, it’s possible they can sign Bradshaw.
Bradshaw’s injury history is well-documented. He’s 27 years old, but he’s undergone three surgeries on his right foot. That’s not to mention the procedures he’s had on his left foot and both ankles. Saying Bradshaw has “durability concerns” is an understatement.
On the other hand, people seem to forget that Bradshaw rushed for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns on 4.6 yards per carry just last season. He’s certainly shown he has the talent to make a difference in the National Football League.
Khaled Elsayed of ProFootballFocus.com ranked Bradshaw as the No. 1 free-agent running back this year. Elsayed wrote, “When healthy, I’d go as far as to say there isn’t a more complete back in the league than Bradshaw.”
Bradshaw received a sterling grade of plus-14.2 by Pro Football Focus last season, the highest grade among this year’s crop of free-agent running backs. And it’s easy to see why Bradshaw has been seeking more money. He knows that he’s worth plenty when he’s healthy.
But Bradshaw’s injury history has taken the ball out of his hands, so to speak. That could work out beautifully for the Steelers, who may not have to pay much for the two-time champion.
If the Steelers can get Bradshaw at a discounted rate, they need to pull the trigger. Nobody on the current roster—including Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman—is a high-impact player in the backfield. Pittsburgh ranked 28th in the NFL in yards per carry in 2012.
The Steelers need their running game back. Bradshaw, if healthy, could be just what they need. It’s a no-brainer at this point.