As a running back in the NFL, the problem with staying healthy is that people are always hitting you. They hit you everywhere, and anywhere. All places, really.
This is why being Ahmad Bradshaw isn’t fun. In fact, I can imagine it’s downright deflating, especially after he had 1,260 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns during what was his final season with the Giants in 2012, despite missing two games, and he was hobbled in many others. Bradshaw is now a free agent, and signing him is, at best, viewed as a leap into fiery water.
The Steelers may be about to take that plunge. Watch out for Timmy and his death raft.
For Pittsburgh, though, the risk associated with Bradshaw is at least partly marginalized by the presence of Jonathan Dwyer (and to a lesser extent, Isaac Redman), with the two forming a platoon and splitting time. Bradshaw is in Pittsburgh today for a physical that will be far from routine after his multiple ankle injuries, and NFL Network’s Aditi Kinhabwala reports that if all of his body parts are in the proper working order, a contract will then be pursued.
Rashard Mendenhall walked (he signed with the Cardinals), which immediately made the Steelers one of the running back needy teams this offseason. It’s a need that could be addressed during the draft, but the Steelers likely aren’t interested in paying the high cost required to land Eddie Lacy. Due to his wobbly ankles, Bradshaw should come at a cheap price, and since he’s 27 there are potentially a few more productive years left in his semi-rusted body that, again, is still useful in a role that reduces his pounding.
For fantasy purposes, there’s an opportunity for fine late-round value here if we assume/hope that if he signs, Bradshaw is on the high end of a split. At that late-draft discount price, your risk will be properly managed, and then you’ve stashed the all important running back who can be slotted into a flex spot each week while he’s given 15-ish carries per game.
Bradshaw averaged 4.6 yards per carry this past season while getting 15.8 carries every week. His workload was similar back in 2010 when he rushed for a career high 1,235 yards (17.2 carries per game).