Steelers Should Poke Around On Polk

Earning $1.542 million a season in 2015 as a backup running back in the NFL is probably not a bad gig if you can get it, but that payday wasn’t evidently big enough for Chris Polk to sign his restricted tender prior to the start of the Philadelphia Eagles offseason program. As a result of him not signing it earlier, Polk risked the Eagles rescinding it at any time and that’s exactly what they did on Friday.

Now that the Eagles have pulled that offer away from Polk, he’s now considered a free agent and can sign with any team he wants without restrictions. While there’s a good shot he’ll eventually land somewhere, he’ll be lucky to get more than the $1.542 million he could’ve possibly received from the Eagles had he made their final 53 man roster.

Perhaps Polk wanted to have an opportunity to freely shop his services elsewhere as the Eagles are currently set at running back after signing DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews this offseason to compliment Darren Sproles. Face it, Polk, who joined the Eagles as an undrafted free agent out of Washington in 2012, didn’t stand a chance at seeing the field based on that depth chart.

Where will Polk land now and is Pittsburgh an option?

Being as Polk will likely need to sign a one or two-year deal for near or at the minimum at this point of the offseason, I think the Steelers would be wise to at least look at his film and lob a phone call his way.

For starters, the Steelers are currently scheduled to be without starting running back Le’Veon Bell for the first three games of the 2015 season and while veteran DeAngelo Williams was signed during the offseason to be his primary backup and the temporary starter, the team has nothing but inexperience behind him in Dri Archer and Josh Harris.

While Polk only has 57 career carries to his credit, he has found the end zone seven times. Additionally, 11 of his 57 carries have come with the Eagles offense needing three or less yards and he converted nine of those opportunities into either a first down or a touchdown. Five other runs of his that came on first downs resulted in 10 or more yards gained.

While Polk only caught six passes during his three seasons with his Eagles, he showed in college that he can be a threat in that area out of the backfield as he had 78 total receptions during his final three years at Washington.

On top of everything else, Polk can also play on several special team units. Last season with Eagles, the 5-11, 222-pound running back returned 11 kickoffs for a 30.9 yard average and one of those he brought back 102 yards for a touchdown. He also recorded five total special teams tackles in 2014 and had four in 2013. He’s worth a minimum contract for those tackle stats alone.

So far this offseason, the Steelers have appeared to be interested in adding a bigger back in the later rounds of the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft. If they were to sign Polk, instead, that wouldn’t be necessary and they could use that pick on another position. The added competition for Archer and Harris also wouldn’t be a bad thing and the three could then battle for two spots on the opening week 53 man roster being as Bell won’t be listed on it.

  • cencalsteeler

    Makes sense to me!! I guess it comes down to if they believe in Harris. If Polks an upgrade over Harris in their eyes, it should be a no brainer.

  • pittsburghsteelerz

    Therefore it will not happen.

  • Paddy

    perfect pickup and would perhaps let the Steelers skip drafting a RB this week.

  • falconsaftey43

    Great call Dave. Now go get him Steelers!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Now you’re talking. If you go look up RBs that are still FAs, there are still a few. Then we will have the draft and cuts later. Obviously, thus guy would be great because he will contribute in 2 phases of the game. But even if they wait until later, I feel like they will not draft RB all and just go UDFA.

  • taztroy43

    Doesn’t this guy have something medically wrong with him and that’s why he went undrafted???

  • nitch19

    If they can sign him to at or near what he turned down from the Eagles, I’d be all-in. More proven than Harris, will contribute on ST and most importantly, saves taking a RB in the draft – which where one will be taken, will likely be a long-shot to get a helmet on Sunday’s anyway.

  • dgh57

    If it means saving a draft pick that can be used instead on the defense or OL I’m all for it!

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Sounds like he’d be a good pick up for us then we can use the pick on another position and still sign an udfa rb for competition and camp body

  • ApexSteel

    I don’t think there’s a such thing as a perfect 3rd string rb so it wouldn’t really matter.

  • John Hinton

    I like your thinking on this Dave. Hopefully the FO is doing their due diligence right now. This would allow the team to address another position of need next weekend.

  • cencalsteeler

    If you compare DHB, his salary and his last seasons contributions. I’d bet the farm that Polk would contribute more to the team than that. 40 yards of offense and some special teams play warranted DHB another season. The bar for Polk isn’t set that high. My hunch would be he would supersede that mark. This also allows for the FO to pull the trigger on a WR which seems to be the way they are leaning based on pre draft visits.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I liked Polk coming out of college so this is a no brainer for me

  • Kenneth Wilt

    He is somewhat I think you look at, but I think you wait till after the draft. Maybe you get the guy you really what in the draft, someone who really fits our system fills the need and then you don’t have a need for Polk.

  • Matt Manzo

    Most of us liked him when he was coming out!
    I’m surprised by his special teams numbers! Because of those i say we sign him!

  • Louis Goetz

    I doubt he would sign with the Steelers, and do we really want him? I could be reading this thing all wrong, but it looks to me as though he refused to accept a $1.5M offer from Philly that would have given him an opportunity to battle Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews for playing time behind DeMarco Murray. He didn’t want that. It appears he wants to be on a team that is going to give him carries; not make him earn them. If the way Tomlin/Haley handled the offense last year is any indication of things to come, no one but Bell is going to see any significant playing time after Week 3. Even with the games in hand, the Steelers didn’t take Bell off the field last season. If Polk was afraid of being buried on the Eagle’s depth chart, what could he expect from the Steelers?

  • The Notorious TOM

    DHB’s also a tenacious run-blocker and even if he’s not being targetted, he’s faster than fast and he’s opening up the field for someone else because he has to be accounted for. Polk can’t replicate those contributions.

    #DHBArmy

  • SteelersDepot

    The thing that really makes Polk more attractive than several of the still unemployed RBs is the fact that he is still young, a power runner, a decent blocker ANDDDDDDD, he can play on special teams-and is good at it. Don’t think that last one isn’t a big deal.

  • cencalsteeler

    Well, Louis your exactly right. I am hoping that Haley/Tomlin have learned their lesson that having Bell carry your team is not the right thing to do. Our team dropped significantly after Bell went down with the injury. We can not be as one dimensional in the backfield because that exposes us as a team. Sure, we have other offensive weapons, but I’m talking specifically about the rb stable. I’ve been calling all offseason that we need someone to SHARE the load with Bell (70/30 comes to mind). If the Steelers share that same mentality they did last year, then the lesson wasn’t learned and we’ll all be holding our breath each time Bell gets a carry. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to go through the season concentrating on whether or not Bell gets up after each tackle. Polk doesn’t seem to carry a hefty price tag and the thought of contributing on special teams, coupled with injecting some hope in the kick return game, seems to fit nicely with what the Steelers need.

  • cencalsteeler

    Lol, Tom. Sorry, your not going to recruit this guy into the DHB Army….Not happenin!! With 3 receptions last year, I don’t think theres alot of discussion going on in other teams meeting rooms about him. Also, “tenacious” is a pretty strong word, imo. I’d say he’s a good run blocker, but I’d think Polk could match that no problem. If Polk can net you 40 yards of offense, he’s passed the bar set by DHB, which we have to agree, isn’t much. I hope DHB proves otherwise, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge it. He is a great man, just not impressed by his production on the field.

  • charles

    Haley really likes a back who can at least simulate a pass block and very importantly constitute a threat with the run and catch . Polk looks formidable there and could be a very good addition.

  • Louis Goetz

    From your lips to Haley’s ears. I in no way condoned what Blount did in any way, shape or form, but when they cut him I said we were doomed (and got crucified for saying it). At the end of the Colts’ game, up 17 points, the Steelers were still running Bell instead of Blount or Archer (I doubt Harris dressed) and even then I was screaming why?! Believe me, I want either a complimentary back who can spell Bell on a more regular basis or a change of pace back. That’s why i wished the Steelers would’ve signed someone like Steven Ridley. Polk definitely appears to have the skills. I just question if he’d want to play that role.

  • Ike Evans

    It would be an excellent pickup…. I like Polk alot but didn’t connect those dots… Good call dave

  • The Notorious TOM

    Can’t runblock for himself o_0 unless they did an end-around or something I suppose but I don’t think he’d be getting many oppurtunities to showcase his runblock ability. And they’re obviously not gameplanning for DHB but when he’s on the field you gotta pay attention to him or he’s gonna zoom right past you. C’mon man, there’s plenty of room left in the ranks of the DHB Army! You only have to enlist one year at a time too, that’s the best part :D!

  • opie1280

    This.

  • Derek Bonadio

    Great pick up if we do and from what I have seen with our draft scouting I like him a lot more than matt jones. We grab a guy for all the reasons above that doesnt appear to have a lot of injury issues like jones. In addition, we save that pick where it could be used more effectivley else where. I would be fine with a stable of bell, williams, archer, Polk and harris. Save the jones pick for somewhere else.

  • cencalsteeler

    A ha ha, you got me laughing pretty good there with the DHB Army!!!! 2 thumbs up!!
    As far as run blocking, the answer is simple…..2 back sets.

  • Cris de Campos

    Ray Rice would be nice.

  • LucasY59

    He had a ton of carries in college, and I think there were issues with his knee

  • LucasY59

    Good point on the depth chart and small chance for him to get much playing time, but IF he wants to play, he is going to take anything that is offered, it is kinda crazy to me that he didn’t sign that tender, hard to turn down 1.5mil

  • LucasY59

    I really like some of the RB prospects in this draft, and I like Polk also, IF they can get him to sign, I would take him, but I would also draft a guy if the value was right.

  • John Pennington

    Rather see the Steelers draft a rb .They will get good value in the later round.This is what draft is about or they could sign rbs after the draft.