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Are the Steelers more likely to make a trade or sign a player?

The Steelers still want to improve their roster.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

Minicamp and OTAs are in the books. The only thing now standing in the way of the Pittsburgh Steelers and actual football games is training camp. While we are still more than a month away from Latrobe (or Heinz Field...) the Steelers front office could still be busy bees. Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin have both expressed a desire to improve the depth at outside linebacker, and the Steelers actions have backed up those claims. The Steelers reportedly offered a contract to Ryan Kerrigan a few weeks ago, but the weren't able to strike a deal. But that doesn't mean they won't keep trying.

The legitimate free agency options come down to Justin Houston and Melvin Ingram, both of which have gone on multiple free agent visits without having signed a contract. To me, that means they are way too expensive, and for the cash strapped Steelers, expensive isn't going to cut it. The Steelers could wait until final cuts and try to sign the best released player on the market, but these guys will be sought after by a lot of teams around the league. Pass rushers are a premium position after all. While it’s more likely they scoop someone up post cuts, I don’t think that’s the perfect scenario this team would want to wait on.

The cheapest option at this point will to be acquire a player via trade. You don’t have to pay players entire salaries at this point and you don’t have to negotiate with them at all. The best part, if you make the move before training camp you can have the traded player go through all the practices with the team and understand the playbook fully. The only down side would be giving up draft capital assets to acquire said player. The Steelers don’t have many picks remaining from the 2022 draft after previous trades, but moves using future picks aren't unusual at this time of year.

Finding a player on an expiring rookie contract for a 2023 pick is the perfect scenario. You can pry them away from their teams, especially if they are deep at the position, and if everything goes well you have primary negotiation rights. If the Steelers want to commit to fixing a certain position group, making a trade in my opinion is the best way they can go about it.

But what do you think? Will the Steelers next move come via trade, or through free agency? Let us know your thoughts down I the comments below.