The Steelers are in the thick of the offseason right now, and speculation is running rampant as to what the team should do. Who will they draft in April? What free agents are locked to join the team? Could a quarterback be brought in via a trade? Hot takes are running wild in Pittsburgh right now.
With the speculation season in full force, I wanted to take the time to share my five hot takes for the team in the offseason. These are things that aren’t among the traditional ideas most Steelers fans are expecting for 2024, but I think the team can, and should attack the offseason in this manner. Here are my five hot takes on how the Steelers handle this offseason.
Steelers should give Jaylen Warren a new deal
The running back talk this offseason is naturally focused on Najee Harris. The former first-round pick is coming off his most efficient season, and down the stretch, he served as a workhorse for this team. His fifth-year option is available, and there is valid talk of the team outright extending him.
I am in the opposite camp. Sure, give him his fifth-year option, but giving Harris an extension seems unwise. He will want top-level money, and while that doesn’t break the bank for a running back, it has a bad history of backfiring on teams. Add in the workload Harris has handled through college and the pros as well as his age and regression will likely come sooner than later.
The running back this team needs to extend is Jaylen Warren. I’ve outlined this before in a separate post, but there is a lot of sense in inking Warren to a new deal now. While he has one season left on his undrafted rookie contract before becoming a restricted free agent, that gives the team a lot of leverage. The second round restricted tender isn’t that cheap either (this year it is projected at nearly 4.7 million dollars).
Running backs are also injured, and one bad hit could lead to a James Robinson situation, who was derailed after an amazing start to his career. Warren knows he has little leverage, so he could settle for a reasonable deal, lock in some good money now, and hope to keep his value up through the extension.
Four to five million a year over two to three years is my target. This gives the team at least one of their top backs over the next few seasons, so if Harris walks, you still have a good player in the room. You have all of the leverage with Warren, so it makes sense to capitalize this offseason.