For teams who draft in the back of the 2018 NFL Draft, there are times when things can get boring. As teams like the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and plenty of others are all talking about their Top 10 selections, a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers is forced to take a wait-and-see approach due to their on field success in 2017.
However, what if they didn’t have to just wait around to see what was going to happen and who might fall to them? What if the team actually made a draft day trade which impacted not just two teams, but three?
This is exactly the scenario Bill Barnwell of ESPN draws up in a recent article. He has the Steelers shipping Le’Veon Bell, the 28th pick and a third round pick, to the Washington Redskins, while the Redskins send Chris Thompson, the 13th pick and a 2nd round pick to the Indianapolis Colts.
What do the Steelers get in all of this mess? Try the No. 6 pick in the upcoming draft.
Take a look...
28. Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers get: 1-6
Colts get: RB Chris Thompson; 1-13; 2-44 (from Washington)
Washington gets: RB Le’Veon Bell; 1-28; 3-92 (from Steelers)
It’s easier to think of this as a series of trades. First, Washington move up from No. 13 to No. 6 by sending its first- and second-round picks, which are a near-perfect match on the Johnson chart for the sixth overall selection. Washington sweetens the pot by including the wildly underrated Thompson, who is coming off of a broken leg but is about to begin a relatively team-friendly two-year, $7 million deal. He’ll be the pass-catching half of a rotation with Marlon Mack.
Then, Washington sends the sixth pick to the Steelers to get a new franchise icon in Bell, who obviously will be in line to sign a new deal as part of the trade. Washington moves down to 28 and gains a third-rounder after losing one in the Alex Smith deal. The 808-point difference on the Johnson chart roughly values Bell as being worth the 21st overall selection of a typical draft, which would be a generous return for a guy with one year left before free agency. (You could argue that Washington could just use the sixth pick to draft Barkley and save millions in the process, but that is a level of rationality the organization has not earned.)
That leaves the Steelers, who might be giving up on signing Bell to a long-term contract. Well, how does Barkley sound as a replacement? Trading into the top 10 for a running back wouldn’t exactly be a very Steelers-y move, but Barkley’s athleticism and wide-ranging skills would make him the best immediate replacement for Bell while the Steelers are in win-now mode at the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. It even creates about $6 million in new cap room for Pittsburgh to go after a veteran front-seven piece after June 1.
This trade would rock the NFL in many ways, but mainly for the Steelers. Barnwell has the Steelers taking Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the 6th pick, and moving forward with a combination of Barkley and James Conner in the backfield.
While this scenario is far-reaching, it is interesting to wonder what the Steelers would have to give up, and get, for Le’Veon Bell. However, it should be noted Bell would have to sign his franchise tag tender if the team plans on shopping him around on draft day.
Kevin Colbert has stated several times how he might not be the one making these trade calls, but he always picks up the phone when someone calls him. Could a team, or teams, put together a package deal which is just too good to turn down?
Only time will tell, and while unlikely it sure is fun to consider the ramifications.