Running back Rashard Mendenhall leaves the Steelers but he joins a familiar face in Arizona, where he agreed to a one-year deal, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Mendenhall reunites with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who was his offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh for his first four seasons in the NFL.
This really isn't a loss for the Steelers, who need to start fresh at running back. Mendenhall's production has been in decline for the past two seasons and it's been the result of his running style more so than injuries (knee and Achilles). He doesn't grind out yards in between the tackles and is too quick to bounce to the outside.
Last season, he finished with 182 yards rushing, his fewest since his rookie year. There were problems on the field (fumbling) and off of it (leaving Heinz Field after being told he wouldn't dress for a game).
Mendenhall should get a second chance. He's only 25 and he scored 29 touchdowns from 2009 to 2011. But he wasn't going to get that in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers need to address running back in the draft. Even if Pittsburgh adds a back in free agency (perhaps Beanie Wells), the Steelers have to look to the future and can get value at running back in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. The Steelers know they can't count on Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman to be their featured backs this year or in the years to come.