ESPN has released some expert predictions for the upcoming offseason and Green Bay reporter Rob Demovsky is predicting a Packers playmaker will sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency.
“There’s much to be settled with Pittsburgh’s offense, including Ben Roethlisberger’s immediate future, but the addition of a game-changing running back like Jones could steady things,” Demovsky said.
While Demovsky admits the Steelers are cap-strapped, he is confident they would be able to work something out in order to ensure Jones’ services. He is also counting on the Packers low-balling their star running back.
“No, the Steelers aren’t traditionally big players in free agency, and yes, they have cap problems — but so does just about every team this year. They can make it work if they want to. The Packers aren’t going to pay guaranteed money to a running back, and it’s hard to imagine Jones’ new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, letting his client play under the tag without the promise of long-term security.”
Jones would certainly be a splash for the Steelers in free agency, as the one-time Pro Bowler has been one of the best running backs in football over the last two seasons.
Jones rushed for a career-high 1,104 yards in 2020 along with nine touchdowns. He scored a league-leading 16 rushing touchdowns the year prior. He is just as dynamic as a receiver out of the backfield, tallying 131 receptions for 1,057 yards and six scores over his career.
While Jones would absolutely be an improvement at the running back position for Pittsburgh, their run game issues in 2020 had more to do with the blockers than the ball carriers.
Pittsburgh finished last season with the league’s worst rushing offense, and will likely spend their resources retooling an aging, depleted offensive line over the coming months.
No matter how dynamic Jones is, he would not be doing much behind the team’s current unit up front.
With current starting running back James Conner set to hit free agency as well, the Steelers will absolutely be looking to address the position this offseason. Unfortunately, Jones will likely prove far to costly of an upgrade.
Even with the Steelers’ unique ability to bend the salary cap to their will, Jones will likely not be suiting up for Pittsburgh in 2021.