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Steelers Could Land Free Agent Running Back David Johnson After He Expresses Interest In Coming To Pittsburgh For 2022

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Steelers Could Land Free Agent Running Back David Johnson After He Expresses Interest In Coming To Pittsburgh For 2022

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have the same stable of running backs as they had in 2021, and outside of Najee Harris it isn’t exactly a strong group. With Matt Canada taking over as the offensive coordinator prior to last season second year man Anthony McFarland was expected to take a big leap.

McFarland had worked with Canada at Maryland and produced his best season of his collegiate career with Canada calling the plays. But that didn’t translate to the NFL. A training camp injury derailed McFarland’s season and even once he was healthy the Steelers made him inactive nearly each week. He finished the season with three rush attempts for three yards.

Steelers Anthony McFarland

JSKO_PHOTO (twitter)

Many national pundits, and Steelers fans considered the back up running back position to be a ‘need’ for the Steelers heading into the offseason. But throughout free agency, and the draft they failed to add any help. The only additions came by way of undrafted free agents Mataeo Durant and Jaylen Warren.

Recently it’s been suggested that the Steelers should go after veteran running back David Johnson to help solidify the running back room. Pittsburgh could find themselves in another DeAngelo Williams, Le’Veon Bell situation with Johnson backing up Harris. But there’s been no sign of movement from the Steelers front office in regards to signing another running back.

On Friday Johnson worked out for the New Orleans Saints, but reportedly left without getting a contract offer. This is what he posted on Twitter.

Now what was interesting was what happened in comments below the initial tweet.


Twitter conversation between David Johnson and a Steelers fan

A Pittsburgh fan replied to Johnson suggesting that he call the Steelers and Johnson replied back saying:

That would be a great place to be at! 🙌🏾

Pittsburgh currently sits with just over 23 million dollars in salary cap room with only rookie Kenny Pickett left to sign. It’s likely a one year contract around 2 million would be enough to ink Johnson as the Steelers back up.

Johnson, who was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, has had an up and down career. After bursting into the league and earning First Team All-Pro honors in 2016 with the Cardinals, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy or play to a consistent level. Johnson, who eclipsed over 3,500 all-purpose yards in his first four seasons with the Cardinals, was traded following the 2019 season to the Houston Texans where he hasn’t been able to stay on the field or provide consistent play.

After playing out his three-year, $39 million dollar contract with the Texans last season, Johnson hit the free agent market and hasn’t found a home yet. Johnson turned 30 this year and does have significant wear and injury history in his past, but his ability is clearly still there. Johnson played in a part-time role last year with the Texans due to injury and inconsistency and only saw 99 touches over 13 games. This was significantly his lightest role since becoming a pro outside of his 2017 season that was ended in Week 1 with a torn dislocated wrist. Now that Johnson has had time to fully recover and two seasons with significantly less touches than earlier in his career, he could be entering a second stage of his career that allows him to become a viable back up.


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  1. Bernie Mccluskey

    June 18, 2022 at 11:06 pm

    I would be more than happy with Dj as backup to Najee

  2. Bill Hennager

    June 19, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    That would be awesome a quality back with wide receiver skills outta the backfield, he had no blockers in Texas and they were predictable

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  4. Michael Marshall

    July 25, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    The Steelers do not have $23 Million Dollars in Salary Cap room. It’s closer to $14 Million Dollars.

    Johnson would be a veteran presence and valuable addition to the backfield. Durant will make the roster. McFarland or Snell is out!

    • Justin McGonigle, Owner

      July 26, 2022 at 12:10 am

      Well Michael, if you looked at the date of this story you’d know that it’s from a month ago when they did have 23 million.

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