Rhamondre Stevenson contract is a glimpse into the market for Steelers Najee Harris

The Pittsburgh Steelers have an idea of how much Najee Harris will need to be paid following Rhamondre Stevenson's contract extension with the Patriots.
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

It might be a while before a running back comes around who can break the bank quite like Christian McCaffrey did with the 49ers this offseason. However, another notable NFL running back just got paid, and his contract could be used as a baseline for Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris.

On July 20, ESPN's Adam Schefter announced that Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson had inked a four-year deal for $36 million that will keep him in New England for the foreseeable future.

This contract extension included $17 million in fully guaranteed money which equates to $9 million per year in average annual earnings.

Stevenson's lucrative contract extension will impact the Steelers

Rhamondre Stevenson's lucrative new deal will have a direct impact on how things unfold with Najee Harris and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harris and Stevenson entered the NFL at the same time during the 2021 NFL Draft and both are big backs who proved capable of carrying the load.

While Najee has been the healthier back of the two (he hasn't missed a game in his three-year NFL career), Stevenson has been more efficient as both a runner and receiver from the backfield -- recording 4.5 yards per carry and 5.0 yards per target, per Pro Football Reference (compared to 3.9 Y/C and 4.7 Y/T for Harris).

After recording at least 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first three seasons, Harris has more raw production than Stevenson, and his agent will use this as an argument in contract negotiations.

The Steelers have another dilemma.

Both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren need contract extensions but the team is unlikely to retain both (especially considering how much Stevenson just got paid). Warren is the younger, more efficient running back with significantly fewer touches, so some have speculated that he will be the back that Omar Khan and the front office keep for the 2025 season and beyond.

On May 2, the Steelers let the deadline pass to retain Najee Harris on the fifth-year option for the 2025 season at just $6.79 million. Now it looks like if Pittsburgh wants Harris back, they will be required to fork up roughly as much as Rhamondre Stevenson just made with the New England Patriots.