Monday, January 21, 2013
More Pittsburgh RB buzz
By Tim Kavanagh
On Sunday, we linked to a column from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette scribe Ed Bouchette, who lamented the dearth of RB talent signed for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 2013. Rashard Mendenhall will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, while Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman will be restricted free agents. That leaves Baron Batch as the lone returning rusher to generate any stats. So what's the plan?
As we've seen with other RFAs in the past, Dwyer and Redman can be retained via the RFA tender system, and at a high enough level, it's unlikely that another team will attempt to poach these players away. (RFAs are seldom poached, in general, leading some to believe it's a subtle form of collusion by GMs/owners, but we digress). So the Steelers won't be entirely bankrupt at the position when it's time to go shopping via free agency and the draft.
Bouchette contends that neither Dwyer nor Redman will be the lead back for Pittsburgh next season, and he insinuates that the club won't be looking for a solution in free agency -- so, in his opinion, we won't be seeing Cedric Benson, Reggie Bush, Shonn Greene or Peyton Hillis in a Steelers uniform. Instead, the draft will be the means by which the team will improve its RB picture.
There isn't a Trent Richardson in this year's draft class -- no rusher is generating that kind of buzz amongst the draft scouting community. However, Richarson's former teammate Eddie Lacy as well as Wisconsin's Montee Ball and UNC's Giovani Bernard are believed to be backs that can step in to somewhat substantial roles as rookies, and should be available as second-day picks.