The drama in the backfield of the Pittsburgh Steelers continues. Today, the Steelers agreed to a one-on-one trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for running back Felix Jones. In return, Philadelphia got linebacker Adrian Robinson. The trade will be made official once Jones passes a physical.
Obviously, this move was made due to the uncertainty of the health of rookie running back Le’Veon Bell. The second-round draft pick suffered a Lisfranc injury to his foot and is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks. Though it’s been reported that Bell doesn’t need surgery, Pittsburgh still had to find a way to solidify their backfield headed towards the regular season.
Looking at the situation among the running back corps, it’s hard to say who will be sacrificed once the roster is trimmed down to 53 players. We all know that Bell is safe. The same can be said for LaRod Stephens-Howling, who will more than likely be the team’s third-down back. I would even have to say that Baron Batch just might make the cut simply because of his contribution to the special teams.
That leaves Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Redman has been named co-starter along with Bell, yet has been limited in the preseason due to a stinger. On the other hand, Dwyer showed how serious he was in improving by losing weight over the offseason, and it paid off with a solid performance in the Steelers’ second preseason game.
This trade for Jones could possibly make either Redman or Dwyer expendable. If you ask me, I believe that Dwyer has the upper hand. Redman has been limited so far while Dwyer has shown flashes this preseason. In addition, Dwyer was the team’s leading rusher last season.
I’m not totally jumping to any conclusions though. There is a possibility that Jones doesn’t make the 53-man roster as well. At best, Jones will be used as a Band-Aid, and won’t be as important once Bell is able to return back to the field.
Regardless of the outcome, this third preseason game (and maybe the fourth) could possibly be the most important game(s) in the careers of both Redman and Dwyer. One bad performance could put one of them on the chopping block.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+