COOK: Marriage between Pittsburgh Steelers, former Bishop McDevitt standout makes sense

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
LeSean McCoy

The Pittsburgh Steelers filled a major need at tight end by signing Eric Ebron. They added much-needed depth or perhaps even a starter on their offensive line by signing Stefen Wisniewski. They beefed up their special teams by signing Derek Watt and might even give him some snaps at fullback. They brought in Chris Wormley in a trade with the Ravens to help replace Javon Hargrave on the defensive line.

Why not one more move?

Why not address the running back situation?

Why not LeSean McCoy?

McCoy is out there, a free agent who is looking for a good home. The former standout at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg is not a perfect back at this stage of his career. He’s not close to the man who ran for more yards (10,434) in the 2010s than any back in football, made the all-decade team, was named to six Pro Bowls and was twice first-team All-Pro. He turns 32 on July 12 and has 11 years in the NFL. His production dropped sharply in each of the past two seasons. The Bills cut him before last season in what was basically a salary dump. He quickly signed with the Chiefs and, though averaging 4.6 yards per carry on his 101 ball totes, didn’t play in the final two regular-season games or in the AFC championship and the Super Bowl.

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy (25) fends off Oakland Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo.  Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy and his former girlfriend have reached a settlement in a lawsuit she filed against him, court records show, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. Delicia Cordon filed the lawsuit last year accusing McCoy of failing to protect her from a violent July 2018 home invasion at a home he owns in Milton, just outside Atlanta. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann, File)

“This stuff is tricky right now because there’s no visits,” McCoy said last week about finding a new team during an interview on SiriusXM NFL radio. “There’s no real activities with the teams as much as it used to be. The thing I can control is just making the right choice, going to an offense that fits. I want to go to a team that’s a winning franchise that has all the right pieces that’s waiting for me. I look forward to probably after the draft or right before the draft signing on with a team.”

McCoy thinks he can play two more seasons: McCoy said during that same interview that he believes he can play for at least two more seasons. He said he has had talks with “a couple of teams.” It’s nice to think the Steelers are one. They owe it to themselves to investigate and see what he has left and what he wants in a contract, if they haven’t already done that.

Yes, McCoy’s price has to be reasonable. Maybe another team will make him an absurd offer, one that he can’t refuse and the Steelers can’t match. But, if not, he might be interested in coming back to Pittsburgh where he was a star at Pitt, running for a combined 2,816 yards and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2007 and 2008. Who will ever forget his amazing performance in the 13-9 game at West Virginia at the end of the 2007 season?

McCoy would help Steelers in two ways: Signing McCoy would benefit the Steelers in two ways:

One, McCoy would provide veteran depth at a position of some need. As of now, the Steelers are looking at going into the 2020 season with James Conner and Benny Snell Jr. as their primary backs. I’m OK with that combination, but Conner gets hurt a lot and Snell is unproven, although he had his moments last season in wins against the Chargers, Bengals and Browns. But there is no doubt McCoy could help.

And two, McCoy would give the Steelers the luxury of not having to draft a running back with their first pick, No. 49 in the second round, as so many are speculating they will do. I don’t think it’s smart to draft a back that high or a wide receiver, which they surely could get in a later round. It makes more sense to me for the Steelers to draft an edge rusher or an inside linebacker with their top pick. They have no depth at either position. They also are going to have to find someone to replace Bud Dupree, who almost certainly will leave as a free agent after the 2020 season.

Signing McCoy really does make a lot of sense.