4 reasons Steelers should address RB in the NFL Draft instead of free agency
By Tommy Jaggi
Wear and tear of an older running back
If the cost and a weak talent pool in free agency aren’t enough to persuade you to avoid wanting to sign a running back this offseason, perhaps running back shelf life will. I’ve done some extensive research on the shelf life of NFL running backs, and most players (even some of the ones that we would dream elite) start a rapid decline at age 26.
We were already seeing this with Le’Veon Bell prior to his departure from the team. From 2016 to 2017, Bell dropped his efficiency by almost an entire yard per carry (4.9 to 4.0) in just one season’s time, and you could visually see a decrease of speed and explosion on the field.
Even running backs who were once really good (like Gurley) tend to wear down incredibly fast, and the Steelers would be overpaying for the name and reputation instead of paying for the player they will be getting on their next contract. In my opinion, Aaron Jones is the only free agent running back I would give more than $5 million per season to on a new deal, and he will be well out of Pittsburgh’s price range. Almost all of these players have already seen their best days, and it would be wise to pass on overpaying them this offseason.