Even with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren on top of the running back depth chart, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the teams linked to Cook. Fox Sports’ Joy Taylor called the Steelers a “very interesting” possibility for the 27-year-old.
While the Steelers could use additional depth at running back, it doesn’t have to be with a big name such as Cook. General manager Omar Khan orchestrating a trade for a running back that loses opportunities to Cook is probably a much more likely scenario for Pittsburgh.
Looking at the running backs who could possibly lose snaps to Cook, Miami Dolphins veteran Raheem Mostert is an interesting possible fit for the Steelers.
Could the Steelers Be Interested in Trading for Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert?
Before Cook’s release even became official, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Dolphins and Denver Broncos were two teams expected to have interest in the 4-time Pro Bowler.
Even without Cook, Miami has a crowded backfield. Mostert sits on top of the depth chart with another former San Francisco 49ers back, Jeff Wilson, as his backup.
Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin are other veterans the Dolphins have in their offensive backfield. Miami also drafted De’Von Achane in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft.
If the Dolphins sign Cook to upgrade their backfield, any of Miami’s backs, with the exception of Achane, could conceivably be available through a trade.
Having turned 31 in April, Mostert is the most experienced of that group. He has played eight seasons in the NFL since being an undrafted free agent in 2015. He had his best season last year with 891 rushing yards as Miami’s starter.
His experience could be very useful to the Steelers offense, which is filled with players under 30, a lot of which have played two seasons or fewer.
At running back, the Steelers don’t have a player older than 25.
Anthony McFarland is expected to be the team’s No. 3 back behind Harris and Warren. Jason Huntley, Darius Hagans and newly-signed Alfonzo Graham could competed with McFarland this summer for the No. 3 job.
Those four backs, other than Harris and Warren, have a combined 60 NFL carries in their careers.
Other Potential RB Trade Targets for Steelers
Mostert is the most interesting potential Miami running back trade target for the Steelers, but he isn’t the only Dolphins back who could provide depth and experience.
Wilson, Ahmed and Gaskin have all recorded at least 140 rushing attempts since joining the league in 2020. Therefore, all three have more experience than McFarland or any of the other depth Steelers running backs.
If the price for Mostert is too high or should the Dolphins elect to keep Mostert with Cook (assuming they sign Cook), then the Steelers could inquire about Wilson, Ahmed or Gaskin.
Waiting until after the final roster cut down day at the end of August is a possibility for the Steelers too. The Dolphins might not keep all of those running backs even if they don’t sign Cook.
If the Broncos sign Cook, perhaps the Steelers could pursue veterans Samaje Perine or Tony Jones Jr. in a trade from Denver. Both just joined the Broncos in free agency this offseason.
Neither have been consistent starters in their careers, but they each have more than 65 carries and 10 receptions in their careers. Perine has been in the league since 2017 and was a useful pass-catcher and change-of-pace back for the Cincinnati Bengals the last three years.
The Sporting News’ Kevin Skiver identified the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as three other potential teams besides the Dolphins and Broncos who could target Cook in free agency. If they do, those three teams also have running backs the Steelers may be interested in targeting through a trade if the price is right.