Steelers Rumors: Cowboys interest in RB Najee Harris debunked

The Najee Harris trade rumors with the Cowboys might be fraudulent, but it's not hard to believe why Dallas could have interest.
Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers
Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers / Emilee Chinn/GettyImages

The Steelers rumor mill is gaining steam once more. Before the 2024 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh was said to be in play for a trade to add wide receiver talent to their roster. These rumors peaked during the draft when the Steelers reportedly gauged the asking price of Deebo Samuel before taking Zach Frazier in the second round.

Now a rumor has surfaced that is being met with significant backlash. On May 6th, 93.7 The Fan reported that the Dallas Cowboys are interested in trading for Steelers running back, Najee Harris.

This rumor was quickly shot down by NFL Network reporter, Jane Slater, who claimed the Najee Harris and Cowboys reports are 'clickbait'.

We have the right to wonder why this was brought up. After Omar Khan declined to pick up the fifth-year option for Harris, it's reasonable to think that the Steelers front office isn't nearly as high on the former first-round pick as many fans assumed. After all, Najee was drafted by Kevin Colbert -- before Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl took over the front office.

Steelers trade rumors involving Najee Harris are reasonable

Whether you are a fan of Najee Harris or not, it's hard to say that these trade rumors don't make any sense. Though the Steelers wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize their chances of winning now, a trade would be logical for both parties.

Harris is a big back who doesn't reach top speed in a hurry but does have the ability to break tackles without losing steam. His skill set makes him much better suited for a gap scheme (which happens to be what the Dallas Cowboys run). The Steelers, meanwhile, plan to move to a wide zone rushing offense under Arthur Smith.

Much like their willingness to trade away Diontae Johnson, the Steelers could be willing to part ways with another productive offensive weapon if they feel he's no longer a great scheme fit.

It also needs to be stated that, although Harris was productive in terms of raw numbers, Jaylen Warren has been vastly more efficient each of the past two seasons since joining the team as an undrafted free agent. Warren has averaged an astonishing 5.1 yards per carry in his career compared to just 3.9 for Harris. Advanced stats tell the same story, as Warren tops Harris in metrics like yards above replacement, true yards per carry, run success rate, and yards created per touch.

From Dallas' perspective, it's not hard to see why they would be interested in a player like Harris. The Cowboys have always placed a premium on workhorse backs. Many thought they would take a running back early in the 2024 NFL Draft, but they missed out on drafting the position altogether.

This means they will be relying on a nearly 29-year-old Ezekiel Elliott who averaged 3.5 yards per carry last year with the New England Patriots (and 3.8 YPC in 2022 with the Cowboys). Najee is a durable back that would give them consistency and stability at the position.

Because Harris is entering a contract year, he would likely only fetch a Day 3 draft pick in a trade. However, that's essentially all it took for Omar Khan to move on from Diontae Johnson (plus a player swap for CB Donte Jackson).

I would be surprised if the Pittsburgh Steelers were willing to trade their starting running back who has three straight 1,000-yard seasons to open his NFL career, but it's not unthinkable to believe that the front office could be looking to move in another direction or that the Dallas Cowboys have interest at the running back position.