The Steelers are getting dangerously thin at running back. Both James Conner and Benny Snell were injured in last night’s win over the Miami Dolphins. The extent of these injuries is unknown at this time, but there is real cause for concern. Jaylon Samuels does appear ready to comeback for next week’s game however, giving the Steelers some bit of depth at the position. Even with Samuels back, this running back group is still one to be worried about going forward.
If either of the injuries from last night are serious, the Steelers will undoubtedly be looking to add another back to the mix. Kevin Colbert should look right down the road to the division rival Cincinnati Bengals for a pretty good option at running back. It’s no secret that Giaovani Bernard has been criminally underused in Cincinnati over the past few years. After his breakout season in 2015 where he had 730 rushing and almost 500 yards receiving, it has been a steady decline in usage with the Bengals. Now with Joe Mixon entrenched as the starter, Bernard would seem to be expendable for an 0-8 Bengals team.
The tricky part in all this might be getting the Bengals to make any trade at all. They have publicly come out and stated “we are not here to make other teams better”. A curious stance for an 0-8 team with no chance of making the playoffs this season. The Bengals are among the toughest teams in the league to deal with, so any trade with them will be difficult. The other drawback to acquiring Bernard is there are still two years left on his contract after this season at around four million per. That’s a big number for a team up against the cap like the Steelers. Especially considering the team would expectedly have all their three current running backs healthy for next season. If any of Kevin Colbert’s moves so far in 2019 are any indication however, Pittsburgh is all in on this season regardless of future consequences. The team would always have the option to flip Bernard or any of the other backs after the season is over. Pittsburgh is a little short of drat assets after all their recent moves, but the team could certainly part with a fifth or sixth round pick for this type of player. A versatile, veteran running back like Bernard seems like a perfect fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers right now.