According to multiple reports, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is on the trading block. The Steelers should make a deal and get him in the black and gold.
Yesterday I wrote that James Conner isn't the answer for the Steelers in the backfield. He's a really good player when he's healthy. He's just never healthy.
The Steelers need to get some James Conner insurance. Two years ago, had Conner not been hurt, the team may have made the playoffs.
The same could be said for last years group. They averaged 3.7 yards per carry and just 90 rushing yards per game. With that defense, a little extra juice from the running game could have won them another game or two.
Ben Roethlisberger has two years left on his current deal before he likely rides off into the sunset. The Steelers can't have him lead the league in passing attempts and yards again. He's 38 and coming off of elbow surgery.
The last time Ben was healthy for a full year the Steelers ran the ball only 32 percent of the time. Last year, they were one of the worst teams in football at pounding the rock.
Mike Tomlin knows the team needs to be better in that regard, "If we get an opportunity that can add a back to our current pool, then we'll be excited about that. We have every intention of running the ball better in 2020 than we did in 2019, whether we add a back or not."
James Conner can't be relied upon. The Steelers need to make a move. Trading for Leonard Fournette makes a whole lot of sense. It would probably cost Kevin Colbert a mid-to-late round pick in the 2021 draft. If Fournette walks after the year, the Steelers would likely recoup a compensation pick that would make up for the original loss of that draft pick.
Fournette would cost just 4 million dollars against the cap in 2020. That's nothing, even for a cap strapped team like Pittsburgh.
Sure, Fournette was hurt two years ago. Last year, he was sublime. He had a career high in yards per carry, rushing, and receiving yards. If Conner starts, then Fournette could be insurance. If Fournette starts, well, vice versa.
In addition to giving the Steelers a potentially powerful rushing attack, it frees them up to address other needs in the draft as they have a few. Namely, inside and outside linebacker, safety, and wide receiver.
The Steelers are trying to chase down the Ravens for AFC North supremacy. Baltimore has five picks in the top 106 of the draft. They're coming off a 14-win season and their quarterback was the best in football during the NFL's regular season.
Pittsburgh needs to add as much talent as possible to close the gap. Why use a draft pick on a running back when they can trade for Fournette and spend their draft capital elsewhere?