A look at potential free agents for the Black & Gold to consider in 2024…
Approaching the 2024 NFL free agency, we’ll be scouting as many of the potential depth pieces and other free agents who the Steelers could have their eyes on. We’ll break down the player’s career in the NFL thus far, strengths and weaknesses, projected contract value and their fit with the Steelers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could use a third running back to provide depth. Soon to be a free agent from Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson could be a valuable depth option and has some experience on special teams as well. Gibson is better than most running backs as a receiving option out of the backfield.
Antonio Gibson free agent profile
Current team: Washington Commanders
Height/weight: 6’0, 228 pounds
Experience: 4 NFL Seasons
Best fit: Passing downs back, occasionally split out wide as a receiver, can return kicks as well
NFL draft pedigree: 2020 NFL Draft third-round pick
Washington Running Back Antonio Gibson is one of those players that just is just so frustrating to watch on tape. While Gibson can produce explosive plays of more than twenty yards due to his speed he can outrun several receivers. Too often he tries to bounce plays outside even when it’s seemingly designed for him to run inside. When he does that he gets himself into trouble on the field, and when he comes to the sidelines. But, occasionally being able to exploit the defense for a huge explosive play does have its advantages, especially for an offense predicted to be as conservative as the Steelers.
Antonio Gibson overview
Antonio Gibson has the talent to be the leader of a running back by committee, however, he continues to literally fumble the opportunity away. 12 career fumbles are unacceptable; the ball is not covered in bacon grease man. With a new regime in Washington and better alternatives available on the free agency market, Gibson should be allowed to walk in search of greener pastures. Gibson does have the size the Steelers generally gravitate towards with his height and weight, and they may be willing to take a look with his special teams background. He would be a player who could contribute on both offense, as well as special teams.
Antonio Gibson’s strengths
- Speed — Gibson was clocked at 4.39 at the NFL Combine in 2020
- Experience as a kick returner during time at Memphis and in the NFL
- Natural receiver — Converted wide receiver
- Prototypical size for running back position
- Just 25 years old
When Antonio Gibson finds a lane he’s gone, he’s able to show his speed when he gets out in space. You can see his previous experience at playing receiver when he’s able to get on linebacker out in space. He’s also able to use his experience as a kick returner to make defenders miss.
Gibson also shows his receiving ability on screen passes when he’s able to get on the perimeter. The Steelers previously, and for a long time have been dreadful on screen plays to receivers and running backs. However, that’s something that Gibson can execute well when called upon, as well as executing zone runs.
Experience as a returner
Antonio Gibson can be an option as a returner. The Steelers third running back will certainly be expected to contribute on special teams. Gibson has only been a kick returner during his time at Memphis and with Washington. The Steelers may be able to get both depth at the running position as well as adding a kick returner with Gibson. With limited usage the team can use him at the running back spot should either of the Pittsburgh Steelers Running Backs Najee Harris or Jaylen Warren need a breather, or one of them suffers an in-game injury.
- Prone to turning the football over with 12 career fumbles
- Doesn’t play to his size — not a physical back, more of a finesse player
- Will bounce plays outside too often shying away from contact
- Wide receiver/running back hybrid, but HE hasn’t excelled at either over time
Antonio Gibson coughs the football up too frequently to be a startable option should Harris or Warren miss time with injuries. Of the twelve times he’s fumbled the ball, only three were recovered by the offense. That landed him squarely in former Commanders’ head coach Ron Rivera’s dog house. The Steelers don’t currently have the offensive firepower to overcome costly lost fumbles.
Market value estimate
One-year contract with a value between $1,250,000 – $1,350,000