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Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Deadline Preview

Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are exactly what their 3-3 record says they are six weeks into the 2021 NFL season. Not terrible, but not great. A defense led by T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward is still a formidable unit. Yet the offense is floundering due to Ben Roethlisberger‘s diminishing right arm, a lackluster running game, and a revolving door offensive line. Fortunately, those are all issues general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin can address before the NFL trade deadline.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Trade Deadline Previews.

The Steelers’ Current Status

Current Record: 3-3

Division Standings: Third in AFC North

In the Playoff Picture: Yes

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Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

Current NFL Draft Slot: 18th Overall

Potential Trade #1: Joe Haden and a fifth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Ronald Jones II and a 2022 seventh-round pick

Roethlisberger is no longer a quarterback capable of carrying this offense. He needs a stronger supporting cast, starting with a reliable, veteran running back. Jones fits the bill as a useful grinder between the tackles and an above-average receiver. Ball security has been a problem, and that’s why Jones has lost his starting spot with the Buccaneers to Leonard Fournette.

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A career revival would beckon in Pittsburgh, where 2021 first-rounder Najee Harris is struggling to make the grade. He’s averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. Supporting runners Benny Snell Jr. and Kalen Ballage are making even less of an impact, averaging 2.6 and 2.5 yards per rush, respectively. The groundwork is already laid for Jones to join the Steelers. He’s seen his reps limited this season. Head coach Bruce Arians has ruled out a trade before the deadline, but there’s a lot of posturing this time of the year, as well as firm promises broken as soon as the right offer comes along.

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In this case, the right offer means sending Haden to one of the most cornerback-needy teams in the league. Injuries to Richard Sherman and Carlton Davis have left the Buccaneers threadbare at the position. It means there’s room for Haden, who still has some tread left on the tires, even at 32. Haden would be an asset in coordinator Todd Bowles’ man-heavy defense. A starting corner and a fifth-round pick in exchange for a running back Arians has shown a willingness to bench, along with one of the Buccaneers’ two seventh-round choices, would make sense for everybody involved.

Potential Trade #2: 2022 third-round pick to the New York Giants for Evan Engram and a 2022 sixth-round pick

Roethlisberger isn’t getting the most from the talented wide receivers around him, but it’s equally true he’s had precious little help from the tight end position. Eric Ebron‘s production has dried up, while rookie Pat Freiermuth has only showcased his potential sporadically. Neither Engram nor Freiermuth qualifies as credible big-play targets, both averaging less than nine years per reception. The Steelers can boost the numbers from the tight end room by trading for Engram.

Yes, he’s been injury-prone and has inconsistent hands, but Engram’s also been a pro bowler. He would add a few new looks to Matt Canada’s offense as a “move” tight end who can be shifted across formations. That’s worth giving up a third-round pick for a 27-year-old who still has his best football ahead of him. As for the Giants, Engram has played down rumors of a trade, but he’s only caught 14 passes through six games. He ought to welcome swapping a 1-5 team for one on the fringes of the playoff picture.

Potential Trade #3: 2022 fifth and seventh-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Cam Robinson

To say the Steelers need help on the offensive line is an understatement. Big Ben has been sacked 12 times through six games. Solidifying the left tackle spot is the best way to start fixing a dire position group, so trading for Robinson makes sense. He’s still only 26 and has shown glimpses of his potential during a typically tough few years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite his potential, the Jaguars could be talked into giving up the tackle playing under the franchise tag this season. The franchise is perpetually in rebuilding mode, so a few more draft choices are always welcome.

Colbert could offer a fifth-rounder along with the seventh-round selection gained from a trade with the New York Jets. While two late-round choices may seem like meager trade bait for a young left tackle, but the Jaguars would likely accept. For one thing, 2021 second-rounder Walker Little could keep the spot warm until Alabama standout Evan Neal can be taken off the board next April. Robinson hasn’t hit the heights so far, but better coaching would help him turn things around in Pittsburgh.


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
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