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A Letter From the Editor: The Steelers wide receiver trade that never happened

This past week the Pittsburgh Steelers fans were given an answer to a question they’ve been pondering since the 2024 NFL Draft. The question being what are they going to do at the slot cornerback position, the answer coming in the form of Cam Sutton being signed to a one-year veteran minimum contract.

I’m not about to get into the discussion of the morality surrounding Sutton’s signing, you can listen to my Friday “Let’s Ride” podcast for my thoughts on that, but the on-field help Sutton provides is undeniable.

It answers the question we all had heading into the offseason.

While one question was answered, there is still another question which has yet to be answered, and that would be what the team’s plan is at the wide receiver position. The team has acquired players like Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins and Scotty Miller, but no one who really moves the needle in terms of on-field production.

But what if the team’s lack of wide receiver depth wasn’t for a lack of trying?

It was reported last week the Steelers were under the impression they had a trade deal done before the NFL Draft began. Who was the trade with? Who would they be acquiring? We’ll likely never know, but while many pundits poo-pooed the report, you can’t help but see the writing on the wall. What does the writing say? It says it is likely true.

Our source within the Steelers organization told us the team was going to, and willing to, do whatever it took to get another wide receiver in the facility. It started with Brandon Aiyuk and then shifted to Deebo Samuel. Then names like Courtland Sutton and DK Metcalf started to circulate.

Nothing happened, but it doesn’t mean something wasn’t nearly considered a done deal.

When the Steelers decided to re-do Alex Highsmith’s contract, creating more valuable salary cap space, it was obvious this was done with a purpose. Omar Khan doesn’t mind restructuring a contract, but he typically only does so if there is another corresponding move which needs to be made. There was no real common sense reason why Khan would restructure Highsmith’s deal without a need for the created cap space.

Most assume the space which was created was with a deal with the Denver Broncos for Sutton, considering the space created was the equivalent to Sutton’s cap hit in 2024.

Yet no deal was made.

For some reason the rug was pulled out under the deal and the Steelers were left wondering what they would do now? With a meeting with Cam Sutton prior to the draft, they could have had a good idea they could sign their former draft pick, hence why they didn’t address defensive back until Round 6. As for wide receiver, the team took Roman Wilson in Round 3, and the room still feels incomplete.

Could a deal still get done? It could, but it certainly seems more and more outlandish by the day. For whatever reason the Steelers offer they felt was strong enough didn’t work out, and now they are putting their eggs in the George Pickens as WR1 and a combination of Calvin Austin III, Roman Wilson, Van Jefferson and company as the collective to make up the rest of the wide receiver room.

Let’s hope the Plan B they have works…


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