Trying To Make Sense Of The Steelers Trading For Felix Jones

Like many of you, I am still trying to wrap my head around the Pittsburgh Steelers decision Friday to trade for running back Felix Jones. So here are a few theories as to why they decided to.

We already know that rookie running back Le\’Veon Bell will be down several weeks with his foot injury, but that it will not require surgery. Perhaps they intend on placing him on injured reserve with the designated to return tag. This really seems unlikely, but I don\’t think it can be ruled out. Of course Tomlin could have been blowing smoke on Thursday.

Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling missed the last preseason game against the Washington Redskins with an MCL sprain, but according to Tomlin, he practiced on Thursday, although he didn\’t finish. Maybe he is worse off than expected.

The only other thing I can think is that they really don\’t want to carry both Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Both are scheduled to earn $1.323 million in 2013 and that is a lot to pay two backup running backs.

You would have to think Jones is a lock for the roster assuming he passes his physical. After all, why would you trade for a player just to release him in a few more weeks.

As for trading linebacker Adrian Robinson, I don\’t have a problem with that, because it is obvious he wasn\’t going to make the roster.

It\’s your turn to chime in.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Jason Brant

    I don’t see it as a loss because Robinson wasn’t going to make the field. I did like his potential upside, though he certainly didn’t show it so far in the preseason.

    I agree completely on them not wanting to keep both Dwyer and Redman. I know everyone got excited about Dwyer’s play on Sunday, but he made some really bad reads. He also fumbled which is the fastest way to get in Tomlin’s doghouse.

    Batch is as good as gone now.

  • DAYSNWAYS

    I fail to see that Carter has more upside than Robinson – I think it was Robinson because Coach don’t like him.

    As for trading for Felix Jones, I couldn’t be less enthused if i tried!

    Yep i think Dwyer is another one Tomlin don’t see eye to eye with, so this is a way of killing two birds with one stone maybe?

  • Rubem Dornas

    I had hope on Robinson.

  • steeltown

    I don’t see how Dwyer is everyones odd man out.. he is clearly the best RB on roster, besides Le’Veon

    I think this is more of a need move with Le’veon injured, maybe Redman and/or LSH are worse off then we think.. and of course B.Batch has underachieved as well

    In the end, A.Robinson was a 3rd string ROLB.. he showed promise but there was a very slim chance that he would even see the field on Defense in ’13

    If Felix ultimately makes the Team, I think he’ll surprise a few people

    So, I guess we’re keeping Carter…. blah

  • Kysteeler

    To me it seems like we got the better end of the deal, could that indicate that the Eagles were interested in Robinson? I haven’t really paid attention to Robinson this preseason.

    *Jones also did kick off returns for Dallas

  • Shea Fahr

    I think they basically have another Robinson in Baxter that can be placed on the PS. Combine that with the injuries to the RBs and it makes a little sense…but only a little. Felix is supposedly a good blocker and pass catcher so hopefully he can help.

  • dgh57

    F. Jones has already been injured twice this preseason(rib, hammy) and has been moved down the depth chart! Therefore he still has to pass a physical before any trade can take place.

  • steeltown

    EXACTLY, they seem to like Baxter and he can be placed on the PS and on the other hand, if Le’Veon and LSH are going to miss time due to injury Felix is a good acquisition, he can run the ball, he can catch the ball and he can return kicks

  • dgh57

    But can injury prone Felix Jones stay healthy?

  • Steel Certain

    I don’t see how Jones is a lock for anything. The reason you don’t keep a guy you just traded for is that you traded a guy, who was at a position of depth, that you were planning to cut anyways for a vet player at a position that’s banged up. It happens all the time, you’re not out anything if you cut him.
    As for Robinson, there was a note a few weeks ago that Tomlin was getting on to him for not showing that same motor that he showed as an undrafted rookie last year during drills.
    As far as I see it, it’s pretty much a throw away trade.

  • TJimmy

    I was hoping that they would trade for a lneman that can be a good backup

  • dgh57

    Same here, as our o-line depth is severely lacking!

  • Kolie Oak

    Let’s all just thank God on the good news regarding LeVeon yesterday…
    It seems like to me they had an opportunity to pick up a quicker back for Bicknell’s system…
    Pretty simple to me.

  • Kolie Oak

    I think what sucks the most is Chris Rainey would of been a better fit, hes more durable than LaRod.

  • Matt Searls

    It’s confusing because I don’t think that they brought him in to be a starter, and we already have a 3rd down and a short yardage back. And he is the same type of runner as dwyer

  • steeltown

    He played in all 16games last season… and lets be honest, Redman, Batch, Bell and LSH aren’t exactly examples of good health either

  • JohnnyV1

    If Batch were in their plans and doing well on Offense, and Larod Stephens-Howling was going to be well soon, this trade would not have happened.

  • steeltown

    No he’s much faster (4.4 range) he should excel in the zone scheme

  • Arthur Branch

    Adrian Robinson is a 3rd string linebacker. There is no way the steelers were going to be able to trade him for a decent backup on the OL or tight end. They actually running back bodies to finish the preseason.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    This makes little sense to me. Maybe they feel he is better covering kicks than Batch and he gives them some depth on returns? I don’t see why you’d add a vested veteran as a 3rd or 4th stringer. He (or someone like him) would have been available after week 1 at the veteran minimum. If this is to save a little money, I’d rather they roll the dice cutting Dwyer and/or Redman and then trying to get them back at lower salaries.

  • Shea Fahr

    Depth on the O-line seems to be lacking across the League. They will probably wait until final cuts and hope someone better than Wimper passes thru waivers…which is not asking too much.

  • westernsteel

    I can understand trading Robinson, but the Steelers sure have too many running backs now. Someone has to go.

  • Brendon Glad

    Well, we all are smart enough to know that whatever it means, none of it is good.
    I loved Robinson, but was starting to get the feeling that he may be better off going to a 4-3 team (I think Philly is still doing that, if I’m not mistaken) putting on some weight, putting his hand back in the ground and going back to “his one-trick”. 3-4 OLB may have been over his head, mentally, physically, or both. So i’m fine with that too.
    Never been a Felix Jones fan though. If RB durability is the issue, he seems like QUITE the odd-choice.
    That’s probably why this site was flooded for about an hour. I think the entire Steelers Nation is baffled by this one.

  • steeltown

    Well.. Le’Veon and apparently LSH are both injured

  • Matt Searls

    I didn’t know he was 4.4 but who is he replacing?

  • 2443scott

    i see everyone also is wondering whats this all about ….i to cant see them cutting jones if they just traded for him unless as some were saying robinson had a prob with tomlin or tomlin with him and bring in jones see what he got last 2 preseason games

  • Shea Fahr

    and Redman will be soon…just like he is every year.

  • steeltown

    I guess im alone on this, but it makes sense to me.. A.Robinson was a 3rd string ROLB..he showed promise but there was a very slim chance that he would even see the field on Defense in ’13..on top of the fact that Le’Veon and LSH are injured on top of B.Batch underachieving

  • chris ward

    I understand trading away Robinson but would have rather seen them pick up a backup offensive lineman. This trade shows how much confidence the Steelers have in Dwyer/Redman.

  • Mkeller

    I can make sense of it…..they’re as bad off at RB this year as they were last year. If you’re trading for Felix Jones before the season starts you must have a very serious problem. Now you know how much they were counting on Bell. I could care less about Robinson I just don’t see Jones contributing anything. The guy has missed most of camp with the Eagles due to a rib injury. He’s never healthy.

  • steeltown

    He does seem to have issues staying healthy, especially his ankles

  • steeltown

    Played in all 16games in ’10 and ’12

  • steeltown

    I think he was 4.47 or somewhere around there.. I think LSH is worse off than we think and Batch is, well.. Batch

  • dgh57

    There are 2 reasons that come to mind when a RB starts 7 games out of 16: either injury or being past on the depth chart.

    When you are having problems with injuries to your own RBs, trading for another RB with injury history doesn’t make sense! Oh, by the way, has already had a rib & hammy injury this preseason!

  • steeltown

    He maybe didn’t start, but he played in all 16games in ’12 and ’10

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m thinking more about what it means about the other 3. I thought 2 of the 3 looked good. And Redman usually does when he actually plays. So I guess I’m trying to figure out which of the other 3 has fallen out of favor, and why. I never have counted Batch because he shows me nothing.

  • steeltown

    I think LSH is more injured than we think, so we could possibly start the season with Dwyer, Redman and Jones

  • Brendon Glad

    That figures. That should have been obvious to me by now, after these last 3 years.

  • dgh57

    I can’t post links so I’ll try: nfl dot com profile page.

  • steeltown

    He only ‘started’ 7games yes, but he played in all 16.. he and Demarco Murray were splitting time/starts kind of like we did with Redman and Dwyer last season

    Oddly enough his best game last year was against BALT 105total yds 1TD (5.1avg rushing)

  • Brendon Glad

    Not mine. I’m sticking with my tentative prediction before camp that Dwyer will be the starting RB in week one.
    I agree with you. He has always shown the best ability to gain yards, and get injured the least. And to me, I still like that in my RB’s.

  • Mkeller

    Look at his carries per game last year…he had a hamstring and many of those games he dressed as the emergency guy.
    Started 7 games and ran for 402 yds on 111 carries. He’s a nothing player. He’s not healthy now and may not even make the roster. Hell he may not pass the physical.

  • walter mason

    Wasnt it a stinger (Redmans injury) that forced Chris Hoke into retirement?

  • steeltown

    Think what you want man, he has been capable in the past. In fact he had damn good game last season against BALT oddly enough. He’s a good option for running or catching out of the backfield, basically what LSH was giving us, who I suspect re-injured his knee in practice

    We basically got him for a undrafted player that may or may not have made the 53man roster this season

  • walter mason

    Whimper, Whimper, hes our man,…if he cant do it, nobody can…

  • Shea Fahr

    Yeah, I think he had a couple…good call.

  • Shea Fahr

    I guess nobody can then LOL!

  • walter mason

    Yea just trying to make light of a serious situation. The Steelers look good with backups at every position but OT and OG.

  • Shea Fahr

    If he passes a steeler physical, run his wheels off for the next 2 games and let the chips fall where they may.

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Too me that’s exactly what they are doing, Jones not guaranteed to make roster which neither was Robinson especially if he didn’t jive with Tomlin like on the sidelines during the Giant game

  • Shea Fahr

    Agreed.

  • Soliciting Steelers

    God I hope LSH isn’t hurt too bad, been beating the drum for the Steelers to sign him and now (like Bell) we get a little tease and then, boom, on the sidelines

  • walter mason

    I thought Dwyer and Redman were already at minimum salary.

  • Mike.H

    Jeez… now there are THREE Jones on the roster! I have trouble between Nick and Vince Williams already!

  • Mike.H

    Dwyer runs well. It’s his FUMBLES that take the Steelers out of the rhythm. Hold on to the damn ball!

    An average game is decided by a FG…

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    My first and foremost thought about Jones? Do not want! I do not understand this move. Jones offers nothing in a back to the Steelers that they do not already have on the roster. This trade is weird and smacks of desperation.

  • Michael

    I can understand the trade, you give up a guy who wasn’t going to make the roster and take a flier on a RB who if he doesn’t make the roster you lose nothing, what’s so hard to understand. Jones running style is better than both Redman and Dwyer especially in the zone scheme we’ll be running. Jones main problem is staying healthy. Again if it works great, if not no big deal.Once Bell is back healthy, he will be the featured back anyhow.

  • Soliciting Steelers

    The funny thing is that Felix Jones was drafted 1 spot ahead of Mendenhall, which, some media outlets stated back then that Jones was the RB the Steelers wanted…now, Colbert gets his chance to kick the tires and see where it goes I guess…if LSH isn’t hurt that bad I still don’t see Jones sticking unless they cut Dwyer and save $1.3M – [$780k (Jones)-$500k (Robinson)] which is roughly $1M. But Dwyer is better and running well I think, so…

  • RW

    I will keep saying it – why in the world did we not sign antoine caldwell to a deal when he came in? I’d have thrown the check book at him. This Felix Jones trade might end up working in our favor, it might not, but right now its superfluous. We don’t have any OL depth and that’s what’s going to kill us.

  • Mkeller

    Its not about what they gave up for him. Its that a team slammed up against the salary cap has such an absence of skilled position talent. That you need to kick the tires on a broken down player is not a promising sign as the season is just weeks away. Cap tight/no depth.
    By the way…he gained 25% of his 400yds in one half of football against the Ravens then left the game with a hammy. Look it up.

  • Mkeller

    If he’s on the opening day roster he gets his full salary.

  • Dave Bradley

    Howling, Redman, Bell, are all hurt. So by default the starter RB will be Dwyer. The RB backs have injuries, which I am certain that the public is not privy to the exact severity of all the injuries. What ever happened to Baron Batch? As for Felix Jones, was he the best choice for Pitt? who knows, but if the O line doesn’t get their feces together it wont matter who is running the ball.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Why are people freaking out?? We lose NOTHING by giving Jones a shot. Nothing. Robinson was maybe the ninth LB at best. The Steelers have LBs coming out of their eyes. Sure, it would be nice to magically turn two or three of those into sturdy, capable reserve O-lineman, but seeing as we can’t…what’s the big deal?

  • Ken

    Larod Stephen-Howling must be injured worse than we know. Batch has shown nothing. So we have Dwyer and Redman, they are not cutting those guys! Felix is an emergency running back that is better than Batch. My prediction is Issac plays well tomorrow and gets the start in opening weekend.

  • dgh57

    Can Jones do things Batch can’t? Like run between the Tackles? If he replaces Batch I’m good with the(with reservations)trade.

  • Dan

    According to another poster’s list of historical rosters by position, we average 5 RBs (including FB). Possibly this would be a 6 RB year with the injury status of Bell, but there are other positions with injury issues as well. So if we keep 4 RBs (excluding FB), presumably that would be Bell, Redman or Dwyer, LSH and now Jones or Batch? Is Batch irreplaceable on special teams?
    Since Jones had more early success than Mendy, I wonder if Colbert or somebody was secretly Jonesin for Jones and now taking a chance on him?

  • Ken

    Unless Redman’s stinger is a bigger problem than we know and we are down to Dwyer as the only mediocre running back we have available and we are questioning why we traded for a running back!

  • steeltown

    He’s better than everyone on roster not named Dwyer and (unproven) Bell

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I don’t believe LSH is badly hurt. What I DO think is that, given Bell’s injury, Howling was the only speed back left on the roster who excels in the zone blocking scheme. But he is NOT a three-down back. You cannot have LSH returning kicks AND touching the ball 20+ times a game. That’s insane. If you go with Dwyer, you sacrifice speed and maybe any real success in zone blocking. So the Steelers went and got a guy who had both speed (or enough of it) AND experience in zone blocking until Bell gets healthy.

  • steeltown

    He’s far better than Batch at rushing, receiving and special teams.. not to mention it seems as if LSH’s MCL sprain is more than just “minor” as previously described

    It makes sense to me, im not sure what all the negativity is about on this site. Its not like Felix was a Raven!!!

  • dgh57

    MCL sprain is nothing to mess around with! LSH will probably be down a few weeks. When he comes back I can see Batch as the odd man out.

  • Mkeller

    Maybe…if he could walk, run, practice or play without getting injured.

  • steeltown

    Ha, you’re asking a lot, we don’t currently have one of those type players

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Also, keep this in mind:

    The third preseason game is our last LONG look at the starters before the regular season. Bell is out. And if the Steelers rest LSH this weekend, who is going to run the zone scheme behind the starting O-line? It does our line NO good to run it (as further practice) for half a game (or more) without a RB who can hit the gaps and threaten the edge.

  • chris ward

    Yeah Dwyer is a quality back just needs to be more consistent.

  • steeltown

    Indeed.. although, MCL sprains can be tricky, I heard he left practice early the other day.. maybe he re-injured it or made it worse

  • steeltown

    Agreed.. its as if everyone thinks Felix was a Raven or something, ha!

  • StrengthOfVictory

    In Steelers practice today, Jones handed off to Jones, who was tackled for a loss by Jones.

  • steeltown

    Labriola wrote a piece on the acquisition of Felix Jones.. a good read

    Toward the end, Bob writes: “Maybe Jones resurrects his career with the Steelers. Maybe Jones barely makes the 53-man roster….Regardless, it was worth taking a shot. Because Adrian Robinson wasn’t going to make this team”

  • greeny

    I predict he fails the physical. We only have 1 healthy RB on the roster right now. I think we should give Michael Turner a call.

  • Mkeller

    Hopefully things work out but this just isn’t the start to the season I was hoping for.

  • cencalsteeler

    It’s a fairly easy assessment. Rooney said he wants the Steelers to get back to running the ball. Bring in Jones and have him compete with the others before the final cut. There is one more card added to the hand. Let their play sort it out and may the best man win.

  • cencalsteeler

    Wow, I forgot about Turner. Is he still out there?

  • TheBlitz

    Are we maybe over-thinking this with roster predictions and so forth ? The truth is:

    1- Bell is hurt
    2- Redman is hurt
    3- LSH is hurt
    4 -Batch is hurt
    5- Only healthy backs are Dwyer and a couple of new guys who haven’t done much.

    Although some of the guys hurt could get a go tomorrow against Kansas, why take a risk by letting them play when they are not 100% and risking re-aggravating an injury and losing yet another back for an extended period of time ?

    It only makes sense to bring in an experience back like Jones to help take on the extra load through the entire preseason.

    I will over-analyze it later after maybe the Kansas game when we know clearly the real health status of all the backs. For now I tend to think they needed someone to help carry the load at least during preseason and particularly for the Kansas game.

    Why rehearse zone blocking scheme tomorrow night with OL when none of the healthy backs really has a clue on how to run it ? That’s maybe why they brought in Jones.

  • steeltown

    Honestly (when healthy) Le’veon Bell, Felix Jones, LSH and Redman and/or Dwyer is a pretty nice stable of backs

  • cencalsteeler

    Carter didn’t go to training camp his rookie year and was injured his second year. The staff sees something in this kid and I think we need to be patient with him. Too many people are bashing this guy. Remember, it takes time to get into this system and he was WAC defensive player of the year his senior year. Lets give the kid a break and give him some time to develop. We all know as Steelers fans, Rome was not built in a day.

  • cencalsteeler

    Felix Jones > Alvester Alexander

  • cencalsteeler

    I like your statement. Whats it going to hurt? It can only help matters.

  • steeltown

    ..and B.Batch

  • Eddie Cruz

    I dont think any of us really know whats going to pan out in Pittsburgh. I dont really see the purpose in bringing in Jones considering he is the same type of back as Stephens-Howling. Maybe this is just a move to push out either Redman or Dwyer. I think they should just keep them all minus Batch and whoever #39 is and rotate them. It seems like we have a stable of #2 and 3 backs and can just find a true #1.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    They are scheduled to make $1.3M each and the minimum is about $700K for their experience.

  • Pete

    I don’t think Dwyer or Redman are going anywhere (hopefully not). Jones was competing for the 3rd spot in Philly. If he was that great the Cowboys would never have let him go and he’s only 26. I see this as a depth move and insurance if Bell takes longer to heal than expected. At the worst, this might be bad news for Batch.

  • Pete

    Jones has never been a regular starter in his career but he’s been relatively healthy (maybe because he has started so few games).

  • Pete

    It’s not desperation. It’s for depth. Jones isn’t coming in to fill in for Bell. Dallas shrugged and didn’t resign him. Eagles shrugged and traded him for a practice squad/special teams player. Jones is just depth.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Funny thing when you look back at the 2008 draft Dallas selected Felix Jones a pick before us who was a player I thought we were gonna take with the following pick but we took Mendy. Rashaad has looked like the better RB of the two, Jones does have some pretty good speed which is hard to find. A couple of problems with Felix are one he seemed slighty overweight last year and two he seemed have a fumbling problem. If they can get him to work on his ball security, and if he’s in better shape It seems like a good trade.

  • Tom

    My gut feeling is that The Steelers had already determined the Robinson would not make the roster and that they do not intend to keep both Redman and Dwyer.

    I personally view Dwyer as the more talented back…but prefer Ike for his work ethic.

  • Bob Graff

    First thing everyone’s acting like Bell is some type of franchise back, That hasn’t been proven. [he’s a 2nd rd. pick who has shown absolutely nothing so far] He may prove different in the future but right now he hasn’t. Second we have 2 preseason games left give Jones a chance , there is nothing to lose. One of the biggest problems with this Steeler team is that it appears no one is allowed to play there way up the depth chart, it seems everything is predetermined therefore our truly best players aren’t on the field. Couple that with very poor drafting and we have todays Pittsburgh Steeler football team.

  • walter mason

    ” I’d rather they roll the dice cutting Dwyer and/or Redman and then trying to get them back at lower salaries.”

    I thought they couldnt be signed for less because of the years they have played but I really dont know. Are you certain we can sign them back at a lower salary? Why would we offer Dwyer over $700,000 if we didnt have to? He signed so quickly, remember? Maybe Dave will chime in here and help.

  • Milliken Steeler

    What? Yes, he was a regular starter with Dallas and couldn’t stay healthy and so they finally brought in Demarco.

  • carbolaw

    I think this is really just taking a flyer on a true change of pace back. Neither Dwyer, nor Redman can be called a burner and Bell seems more like an every down back, but not a burner. I also think the depth at linebacker made Robinson expendable with no real place for him to move into the current rotation or mid-term starting position. I would not be surprised or all that disappointed if Jones does not make the final 53.

  • carbolaw

    Exactly and Jones or LSH will provide a change of pace to Dwyer’s power. Even when Bell takes over having a burner to come in for a series or two is nice.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Now this may make some sense. If we thought A.Rob wasn’t going to make the team it makes no difference if we want Jones for 6 weeks because they were getting a FA from us anyways so who cares.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Without the $1.3M tenders, Redman and Dwyer would have otherwise been unrestricted free agents. By giving the tenders, the Steelers got the right to match any other offers they received and in the case of Dwyer, a 6th rd draft pick as compensation. The tenders aren’t guaranteed so they can be cut and resigned at less than $1.3M.

  • Bell Cow

    He also has a tendency to fumble.

  • Bell Cow

    Me too. Or another TE.

  • joed32

    You’re probably right about Carter but it could be Baxter. I can hope.

  • walter mason

    OK thanks. I got it now.. But I would not take a chance cutting Redman. Maybe Dwyer but I think we should just keep them both at their current salaries..