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Najee Harris Floated as Cowboys Trade Target



Steelers RB Najee Harris

With the Pittsburgh Steelers declining Najee Harris’ fifth-year option, the running back room could potentially look a lot different in 2025.

Harris is set to hit the open market in 2025, while Jaylen Warren is a restricted free agent. Cordarrelle Patterson is under contract for the next two seasons. The Steelers will have the right of first refusal with Warren, which means they will have to pay him significantly more in 2025. As of now, it seems more probable that Warren would be back. An extension could occur for Harris, too, but it’s a lot murkier, as he could price himself out of Pittsburgh if he puts up gaudy numbers in 2024.

With Harris potentially on the move following 2024, could the Steelers get some draft capital by trading him to the Dallas Cowboys? John Buhler of Fansided recently examined this scenario, projecting a 2025 fourth-round trade from Dallas in exchange for Harris.

The Cowboys are a running back-needy team, with Tony Pollard now employed by the Tennessee Titans. Dallas just recently signed Ezekiel Elliott back, but he doesn’t really move the needle at this stage of his career.

Buhler thinks trading for Harris is tempting, as pressure is mounting from owner Jerry Jones to get America’s Team to the Super Bowl, but doesn’t see it as a long-term solution.

“To me, I think it is too late in the process for the Cowboys to orchestrate a trade for Harris,” Buhler wrote. “They still need to figure out what to do with Prescott long-term. Surely, it will be another long and painful offseason, one in which Prescott’s contract will be more in the headlines than his play. All the while, teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers will not be going way in the NFC.

“Trading for Harris is a temporary solution to a larger problem in Dallas. That would be Jerry Jones.”

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks the wheels are going to fall of with Harris sooner rather than later.

“I think the idea is, we don’t know how he’s going to feel, how we’re gonna feel from now,” Florio said on Pro Football Talk. “He could physically reach his limit this year. … You don’t see teams bet the under with their players, but they’re hedging on the side of $6.9 million is going to be a bad investment.”

In article posted by Florio on Friday, he expressed that the Steelers are take calculated risk by not placing the fifth-year option on Harris.

“They’re betting that he’s not going to generate that kind of interest for 2025, whatever he does in 2024,” Florio wrote. “It’s a surprise, given that Harris has three 1,000-yard performances in three NFL seasons. It’s also a projection that those performances won’t last through 2025. Harris has 834 carries in three seasons, and 144 receptions. Overall, he has 978 NFL touches; it’s an average of 326 per year. He had 718 touches at Alabama. That’s 1,696 since high school. Throw in another 300 or so this year, and he’ll be over 2,000.”

Harris became the first player in Steelers history to run for 1,000 or more yards in each of the first three seasons of his career. In 2023, Harris had the best season of his career in terms of yards per carry as he rushed 255 times for 1,035 yards — a 4.1 yards per carry average — and he scored eight touchdowns. Harris had rushed for 3.9 and 3.8 yards per carry in his first two seasons. In other words, Harris has become a dependable running back for Pittsburgh through sheer availability and some solid tape.

He had his most efficient season yet in 2023. Harris’ rushing yards of expectation, yards per carry, and broken tackles per carry were all career-high. There is a lot to signal that Harris has some upside left in his game, and this should be the best offensive line he has played behind.