5 Players the Pittsburgh Steelers Should Make Trade Offers for This Offseason
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not regularly involved in the trade market, but this season and with so many issues regarding their salary cap, they may be forced the get somewhat creative when it comes to improving their roster.
Here's a look at five players the Steelers could make offers for in hopes of improving their team in the offseason.
Lardarius Webb, CB
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Webb had an excellent year and was also a big part of the team's stretch run to the AFC Championship Game. He's a play-making corner with excellent coverage skills who has really come on as he's gained experience.
Webb is a restricted free agent this year, so the Steelers wouldn't so much be trading for the player as much as they are trading for the rights to sign him. Now that may seem crazy considering that the team is having issues with their cap, but they may be able to retain Webb for the year at a lower price than he'd get if they tried to take him off the open market.
This is a risky move, but he fills a need for the Steelers.
Greg McElroy, QB
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The Steelers have a very fluid situation behind Ben Roethlisberger. All three of their quarterbacks are free agents, and there's a sentiment that none of them will return. The most likely to do so seems to be longtime backup Charlie Batch.
To remedy the situation, the Steelers signed former Baltimore Raven and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, but there's no guarantee that Smith, who's accuracy has never impressed, will stay.
McElroy spent last season on injured reserve for the Jets, but he could be available now. He had some negative things to say about the Jets' locker room and the belief is that the team will make room for a veteran backup for Mark Sanchez.
McElroy would fit better than Smith into what the Steelers do with their quarterbacks, and he's young enough to be developed as a long-term backup behind Roethlisberger.
Shawntae Spencer, CB
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Spencer is a steady corner who's in a bad spot with his current team. He was benched in favor of Tarell Brown by the coaching staff and has since publicly said he'd like to go somewhere else for a fresh start. The team could deal Spencer and get a draft pick in return.
The Steelers have a well-documented need for a corner and have a lot better chance of acquiring one with a manageable salary (Spencer is on for $3.2 million next year) and willing to restructure than they do of signing one in the free agent market.
Two of the team's top three corners are free agents. They need to get creative when it comes to replacing them.
Ben Tate, RB
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One of the many questions surrounding the Steelers in 2012 is what will happen with the running game. Rashard Mendenhall, the team's leading rusher, is hurt and may not be ready at the opening of the season. The team has emphasized that they'd like to return to a run-oriented offense with its next offensive coordinator.
A guy like Tate can help with both issues. There's a strong sentiment that Mendenhall will have to beat out Isaac Redman to start again for the Steelers. He may also be released. The Steelers could use a guy like Tate as a replacement for him. He's a good complement to what Redman does.
There aren't a lot of proven backups on the roster. Jonathan Dwyer is injury-prone but promising. Baron Batch is a runner/receiver, but he was out all of last year. The Steelers could bring Tate in for stability at a relatively low price.
Draft Day Trade?
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Kevin Colbert might also consider a draft and trade deal. The Steelers don't usually do much on draft day with trades, but they've done things in the past to get the player or position they want. Right now, they have a pick in an area where trades seem to develop regularly.
If they covet a player they can't get at that spot, they may make a deal to send a player or picks package to get that player from another team.
This would be a deal similar to what happened with Eli Manning and Philip Rivers in 2004. While it's not likely, the team, as I've said, must get creative. Nothing can really be ruled out at this point.