There have been a lot of trades this NFL season. Big name players like Jaylen Ramsey finding new homes midway through the regular season, which begs the question which trade was the best?
According to New York Times writer Ben Shpigel, no trade topped the Pittsburgh Steelers trading a 2020 1st round NFL Draft pick for second year Miami Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Shpigel writes:
“Since the trade, the Steelers rank second in opposing completion percentage and passer rating, according to Pro Football Reference, and have charged into contention. According to tankathon.com, that first-round pick heading to Miami projects at No. 22.
“Fitzpatrick changed his fortunes for the better. His team’s, too.”
When it comes to flat out results, there is no denying the Fitzpatrick trade, now on the back burner of the Devlin Hodges ‘Duck Dynasty’ tale, has had a remarkable impact on the Steelers’ roster. Would the group have improved without Fitzpatrick? Not nearly to this extent.
As stated in the Shpigel article, the Steelers had just lost Sean Davis for the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder. This would have resulted in Kam Kelly or Jordan Dangerfield playing the rest of the season at free safety. After seeing Kelly start in Week 1 vs. the New England Patriots, the Steelers knew what they had to do.
“We end up with our No. 1 being 20th or 25th again, we probably made a good trade,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. “I thought we made a good trade anyway, regardless of where we land. I’m glad we got him.”
It didn’t take Fitzpatrick long to make an impression on his new teammates too.
“For a guy who’s only been on the defense for a few weeks still,” outside linebacker T.J. Watt said, “he’s communicating like he’s been in this defense his whole life.”
“If the ball’s in the air,” cornerback Mike Hilton said of Fitzpatrick’s anticipation, “it could be ours.”
Shpigel went into great detail on Fitzpatrick’s mindset leaving Miami and heading to Pittsburgh, but it clearly has worked out for the Steelers and Fitzpatrick. The Steelers have control over Fitzpatrick’s contract for at least 3 more seasons, and likely beyond. Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick is building a name for himself, and increasing his asking price every time he touches the football, which has happened a lot since coming to the Steelers in Week 3.
Maybe Mike Tomlin put it best when he was asked in his press conference about the trade.
“It really wasn’t a hard decision on our part.”
The decisions has worked out beautifully for the Steelers, and is why the Fitzpatrick trade has been the best trade this season.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.