Hypothetical Trades Steelers Must Consider in 2022 NFL Offseason
The Pittsburgh Steelers should already be aware they must make improvements for the 2023 NFL season.
Mike Tomlin's team sits in an awkward spot in the AFC. The Steelers are still alive in the wild-card race, but it would be beneficial to lose a few more games to improve their draft stock.
Pittsburgh's draft position could turn out to be important because it already has its franchise quarterback.
A handful of franchises will be hungry to trade up to land a quarterback in the 2023 NFL draft class. That could lead to the Steelers accumulating some picks.
Pittsburgh should also be aggressive on its own on the trade market to find the best possible set of players to surround Kenny Pickett with.
The Steelers could land one or two veteran players in the trade market and then focus their draft picks on defensive depth.
Trade with Houston For Brandin Cooks
Any team with a wide receiver need should check in on Brandin Cooks' status with the Houston Texans.
Houston may be willing to offload one of its veteran assets as it continues yet another rebuild.
The Steelers have a decent one-two combination of Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, but they could use added depth at wide receiver.
One could argue that adding Cooks would hamper Pickens' development, but the Steelers need three strong wide receivers to compete with the top teams in the NFL.
Cooks is scheduled to make $18 million in 2023, so that may be a hindrance on Pittsburgh's potential interest.
Pittsburgh could find a way to have Houston take on some of that money, or restructure the deal to be more team-friendly.
The Steelers would have to give up one or two mid-round draft selections, but that potential move could be massive in helping Pickett develop more.
Potential Trade: Pittsburgh sends a third- and seventh-round pick to Houston for Brandin Cooks
Pick Swap with New York Jets
Not many teams beneath the Steelers in the NFL draft order will have a quarterback need.
As of now, the Steelers are set to pick 13th in April's first round.
The New York Jets are four spots below the Steelers in the projected order and could be in the market for a new quarterback.
The gap between the Steelers and Jets might grow in Pittsburgh's favor if the AFC North side loses to Las Vegas, Baltimore and Cleveland to close out the season.
A jump of four picks may not require a massive haul in draft selections, but the Steelers could get some extra picks out of the deal.
That should be the motivation of the front office all offseason. The Steelers should look for trade partners willing to move up in the first round.
The Steelers can try and fail in that strategy, but they at least need to attempt to trade their first-round pick if quarterback-needy teams are below them in the draft order.
Potential Trade: Steelers swap first-round picks with Jets, receive two additional 2023 draft picks
Trade with Rams for Van Jefferson
The Los Angeles Rams reside in one of the worst spots in the NFL.
The reigning Super Bowl champion is 4-10 and does not own its first-round draft pick.
Sean McVay's team could face hardships next year as well, and that could lead to some players becoming trade targets.
Van Jefferson is intriguing to the Steelers because is a supporting piece in the offense, not a star, and his contract is up at the end of the 2023 season.
Pittsburgh could call Los Angeles and figure out a deal for Jefferson that would cost the Steelers a draft pick, which is something the Rams desperately need.
Los Angeles may not be willing to offload a young wide receiver, but it is worth a call because Jefferson could be a good third piece to have alongside Johnson and Pickens at wide receiver.
The potential trade would come at a small cost to the Steelers because of Jefferson's contract. Any additional draft picks would be welcomed by the Rams as they try to rebuild for the next few years.
Potential Trade: Steelers send third-round pick to LA Rams for Van Jefferson