Steelers Players Who Should Be on the Trade Block After Week 3

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2021

Steelers Players Who Should Be on the Trade Block After Week 3

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Steelers triggered a changing of the guard at running back when they chose Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.

    The player selected after Harris during Pittsburgh’s most-recent draft could also take over an offensive position .

    Pat Freiermuth received more targets than Eric Ebron in the first three weeks and that could be the trend for the rest of the season.

    If Freiermuth fully takes over as the No. 1 tight end, he could make Ebron more expendable. That could lead to the Steelers moving on from the veteran tight end.

    Pittsburgh is not quite ready to make a change at quarterback, but it could be better prepared for that by declaring who the backup signal caller is through a potential trade of one of the depth players on the roster .

Eric Ebron

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    Justin Berl/Associated Press

    Ebron has one catch for 19 yards in three games.

    Those totals become even more concerning when you consider he was targeted on seven occasions by Ben Roethlisberger.

    By this point in 2020, Ebron earned nine catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

    Freiermuth found the end zone for the first time as a professional in Week 3 and he caught eight of his 10 targets.

    If Freiermuth continues to be effective through the air, the Steelers may not have a major need for Ebron.

    Ebron may attract attention from other teams with more pressing needs at the position. If the disparity in receiving totals continues, it would be wise of another team to ring the Steelers about a potential deal.

Mason Rudolph

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    At this point, the Steelers should know what they have in Mason Rudolph.

    Rudolph is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, but he may not be the most promising of Roethlisberger’s two backups.

    The Steelers signed Dwayne Haskins in the offseason and he could be better suited to take over for Roethlisberger after receiving a change of scenery.

    Rudolph has a single 300-yard performance in his three-year career from Week 17 of the 2020 campaign. He has 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 games.

    Haskins is much more athletic than Rudolph and could be the key to unlocking the potential of Harris, Freiermuth and the team’s young receiving corps in the future.

    If Mike Tomlin and his staff have trust in Haskins, they might make Rudolph available to teams in need of starters right now due to injuries or poor performances.

    Rudolph has a recent sample size for teams to look at. As long as he keeps his turnover rate low, he could be an average spot starter for a team in need.

    No matter what happens with Roethlisberger, it does not make much sense to carry both Rudolph and Haskins on the roster. The Steelers should choose between one of the two to start grooming to replace the veteran signal-caller

James Washington

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    Justin Berl/Associated Press

    James Washington is an afterthought in the Pittsburgh offense when all of its wide receivers are at 100 percent.

    Even with Diontae Johnson out in Week 3, Washington managed just three catches for 20 yards off five targets.

    Washington has not had more than three receptions in a single game since Week 6 of the 2020 campaign. He only has three appearances with five or more catches in four seasons.

    Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool are the clear top three wide outs in the Pittsburgh offense when healthy. Johnson and Smith-Schuster are both currently questionable on the injury report.

    Freiermuth’s evolving role plus Harris’ involvement as the top pass-catcher through three weeks should diminish Washington’s role further. That could make him a trade target for franchises that need more support for their quarterbacks.

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