The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of cap hell, and they could make a run at Aaron Jones to revitalize their rushing attack.
After their season came to a shocking end at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers had to brace for a busy offseason.
Before they could even think about re-signing or pursuing free agents, they had to get under the salary cap threshold. The easiest way to do so was by restructuring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s contract, who carried a massive, gaudy $41 million cap hit. General manager Kevin Colbert got it done by lowering the hit to $25.9 million.
According to Over the Cap, the Steelers have approximately $5 million in cap space as of this writing. They can add further cap space by either moving on from some other players or extending some contracts of pivotal franchise pieces. If they do so, they could put themselves in position to sign Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones.
Steelers: Pittsburgh owned the worst rushing attack in the NFL last season
Last season, the Steelers offense struggled mightily due to their lack of a rushing game. That was surprising, considering Pittsburgh had one of the better offensive lines in the league.
Through the regular season, the Steelers averaged a league-low 84.4 rushing yards per game. James Conner continued to get bitten by the injury bug, while the remaining players on the running back depth chart failed to get anything going.
With Roethlisberger set to enter the 2021 season at the age of 39, the Steelers need to do everything in their power to give him a potent rushing attack. Luckily for them, the Packers failed to place the franchise tag on Jones, making him a free agent.
Jones thrived once Mike McCarthy exited Green Bay and was replaced by Matt LaFleur as head coach, because the latter actually used him as the team’s feature back. In 2019, Jones accumulated a league high 19 touchdowns from scrimmage, while rushing for 1,084 yards on 236 carries (4.6 yards/carry). While Jones’ rushing touchdown total decreased in 2020, he actually increased his rushing yards per carry average to 5.5. You think the Steelers would like to add that to their offense? Yeah, we believe so too.
While Jones would be a great offseason addition, the Steelers will have to free up additional cap space. There is reported mutual interest between the Packers rusher and the Miami Dolphins, who have $32 million in cap space to spend once the legal tampering period begins this Monday. If the Steelers can land Aaron Jones, it would be the biggest surprise of the 2021 league year.