The Steelers certainly don’t need to add another running back to this room, do they? If you are to believe what a certain Colts writer is saying, not only could Pittsburgh be looking to add another top back, but they would be adding arguably the best running back in the league in Jonathan Taylor.
Destin Adams of A to Z Sports put out an article Thursday night with some general updates on the Taylor situation. For those of you who don’t know, Taylor was demanding a new contract that would reset the running back market this offseason. The Colts openly said that they didn’t want to pay him, and he has been on the PUP list since the start of the season and has yet to play. All the while, Taylor has publically requested a trade.
In said post, Adams shared a list of teams that had contacted the Colts about the star running back's availability. Amongst those names, shockingly, was the Steelers. Despite having a star, or at least a perceived star to most of the fanbase, in Najee Harris and a perfect compliment in Jaylen Warren, Taylor could be on his way to the Steel City.
Let me be upfront, while Adams says that he is a beat writer, I couldn’t find any specific credentials for him. A to Z sports isn’t affiliated with specific teams either, and Adams doesn’t list any specific source. While I can’t say the report is fake, I also wouldn’t take it as a stone-cold fact given the circumstances.
I hope this report is false for the Steelers
Anyone who follows my writing knows my thoughts on the running back position as a whole. I don’t think it is wise to invest a lot of premium in the position, especially on running backs who aren’t dynamic in the passing game. Is Taylor a good pure runner? Sure, but he would come to the team with some obvious baggage.
For starters, the Colts made it clear that they want a lot of value for Taylor, and likely somewhere in the conversation of a second-round pick at worst. That is a lot of capital to give up on a back who has seen an insane workload as a pro. Typically, that type of workload shortens the effective career of backs.
Taylor also wants a new deal, and he wants to reset the running back market as a whole. Not only would you be trading prime draft picks for him, but you would also have to lock him up to a big deal, tying in a lot of cap space to keep him around. That isn’t a wise way to build a team.
The Steelers also have Harris around, and while trading for Taylor would be a clear indication of how the team views him, I’m not sure the offense would be hugely upgraded. Yes, Taylor is significantly better as a back than Harris, but the line hasn’t been great this year, and that would equally affect Taylor.
All of this doesn’t even consider the fact that the Colts proved that having a stud running back isn’t necessary. His replacement, Zack Moss, has already compiled over 250 total yards in just two games. That is more than Harris and Warren through three games.
That doesn’t mean Moss is inherently better than Taylor, he isn’t, but the Colts boast a strong offensive line. That allows for running back success. Why in the world would the Steelers sink more premium draft capital in a running back when their line is still an issue for this team?
If I had to guess, assuming this report is true, is that the Steelers were just calling in to gauge the price of Taylor and see how serious the Colts were on trading him. It wasn’t a hard inquiry, but instead, just a call to see what the price would be. We have seen Pittsburgh do this in the past.
Frankly, I couldn’t imagine a worse-case scenario for the Steelers than them trading significant draft resources for Taylor, signing him to a mega-deal, and still not addressing the real issues in this running game. Hopefully, this doesn’t come to fruition for the team.