Top replacement options for star Steelers running back in 2025 free agency

Running back has become one of the least valued positions. The Pittsburgh Steelers could add one in free agency to replace Najee Harris.
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

It seems inevitable that Najee Harris will leave the Pittburgh Steelers during free agency next year.

Najee had his fifth-year option declined and it is uncommon for a player to re-sign with a team after that option is deferred. Never say never when it comes to a potential Harris extension, but the odds are stacked against it. Running back has shown to be a fairly easy position to replace over the past decade, so it might be best for the Steelers to look for cheaper options.

There will be plenty of quality players in free agency and the draft to replace Harris and be a potential tandem with Jaylen Warren.

A reunion with James Conner could present a win-win situation

No other running back who could be a potential option in free agency has a better connection with Pittsburgh than James Conner.

He played his college ball in Pittsburgh and was selected in the draft by the Steelers. He left for Arizona in 2021 and has had some quality seasons there. Conner will be 30 years old by the start of next season and could be on the downturn of his career. He might still come at a more expensive price tag.

Matching him with Warren would be a solid duo, plus the fans would love to have Conner back.

A potential cap casualty could be a nice upgrade for the Steelers

No team in the NFL has struggled with cap space more over the past decade-plus than the New Orleans Saints.

It could lead to them releasing one of their star players come next offseason as they are projected to be over 88 million over the cap ceiling. Alvin Kamara could be on his way out of the Saints organization as he would save them a hair under 19 million in cap relief upon his release. The Steelers should be all over him as a potential option to upgrade their running back position.

Kamara is a star player and could be looking for a winning environment.

Signing a known running back tandem option might be best

If Harris decides to part with Pittsburgh, there could be a terrific tandem option for the Steelers.

A.J. Dillon could make a ton of sense for both sides. It is unlikely Dillon will demand a ton of money on the open market, and he is used to being a tandem back with the Packers. He is the exact player the black and gold will need to replace Harris. A short yardage physical back who isn't afraid of contact. He would be a terrific option to pair with Warren.

Would Pittsburgh be willing to go big name hunting in Free Agency?

It might be a bizarre idea, but the Steelers invest some money in the running back position by going after Nick Chubb in free agency.

A few things would happen beyond Chubb getting to free agency and leaving the Browns. One, Pittsburgh would need to give him a pretty hefty new contract. And two, both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields would likely fail. The Steelers would not be paying a quarterback and targeting a running back to lead their offense.

This one would be crazy, but it is hard not to look past Chubb's name on the list of pending free agents in 2025.

Adding a power back after a potential roster cut might be the best option

Another potential cap casualty who could become available in 2025 is none other than Derrick Henry. He just signed with the Ravens, so we will see how his season goes with Baltimore before deeming him a true option to get let go. He is an aging runner who had the weight of the world on his shoulders in Tennessee for seven years. We will see how much tread he has left on his tires.

If the Ravens go one-and-done with Henry, the Steelers should show interest in the player.

He would fit the type of tandem player Pittsburgh looks for next to Warren. If he gets let go by the Ravens, then he would likely be a cheaper option. Having Warren as the top back with Henry as a significant role player behind him could extend his career further. Many things would have to happen for this option in free agency to come to light, but it was too hard to ignore.

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