When Maurice Jones-Drew announced that he would testing the free agent market over returning to the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seemed like a dangerous idea. The free agent market has never been kind to aging running backs looking for a multi-year deal. Michael Turner is an excellent example. He was basically forced into retirement. However, Jones-Drew seems to be the exception as multiple teams are considering signing the veteran
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the latest team to discuss terms with Jones-Drew. The running back is scheduled to make a visit to the team on Wednesday and could sign a deal immediately.
The Steelers could really use Jones-Drew which could make this deal happen quickly. Le'Veon Bell did well in his rookie season behind Ben Roethlisberger, but suffered a few injuries that raises the concern over whether or not he can be an every-down back. Jones-Drew is a savvy veteran that could help mentor Bell over the next few seasons depending on the contract length. Having both backs would give the Pittsburgh offense a solid 1-2 punch and a little diversity, something that was severely lacking last season.
The Steelers have been in the running back market. The team attempted to sign James Starks just days ago. The veteran was on a plane to Pittsburgh when he opted to turn around a re-sign with the Green Bay Packers instead. Pittsburgh is looking for a veteran backup instead of a starter which has made things tough. Most veteran running backs want job security in the form of a multi-year deal, something teams are unwilling to hand out.
Pittsburgh still has options if a deal with Jones-Drew fails to come about. LeGarrette Blount is still sitting on the market and might be a cheap option over other backs like Knowshon Moreno. Blount is used to sharing the backfield after being in a three-man rotation with the Patriots. He has bounced around in the league. After putting together a solid 2013 season, he would be a decent option for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers could also choose to trade for Chris Johnson. The Tennessee Titans are likely asking for a draft pick for the former star. Johnson still has plenty of years left in his legs, but the Steelers might be unwilling to spend part of their draft on a veteran that could be released in the coming weeks anyways.
As long as Jones-Drew's contract demands are not out of this world, the veteran could sign a deal quickly. He is considered one of the best available for any team with starter already in place.