As we rush toward the NFL’s roster cutdown deadline, a few things are clear with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They desperately need an upgrade at nickel corner (even Keith Butler said so), they’re a team trying to field a championship roster, and they have a wad of money burning a hole in their pocket. Let’s face it, Antoine Brooks and Shakur Brown got cut, and Arthur Maulet has been injured. They need a player for sub packages, and probably some depth for the outside guys too. It is the perfect storm to make a deal.
When surveying the available nickel corners across the league, not many jump off the page. That is until you land on the Denver Broncos, and veteran Bryce Callahan. Broncos brass have told media that they are actively shopping defensive backs because of the depth at the position on the team. Combine that with the Broncos coaches gushing over the other nickel corners on the Broncos roster and you can begin to read the tea leaves.
With the recent coaches praise for Nate Hairston and Kary Vincent Jr looking good in games, I wonder if we will see a Bryce Callahan trade come.— Erick Trickel (@ErickTrickel) August 26, 2021
If we don't, one of the two makes the roster with the other a likely practice squad guy.
There also doesn't appear to be a team across the league looking harder for an upgrade at the nickel spot more than the Steelers, and they should actively be in on this situation. We’ve seen Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert making a load of unconventional moves this offseason so swinging a deal like this really wouldn't, and shouldn't, surprise anyone.
Broncos GM George Paton says he's fielding calls from other clubs on cornerbacks. Likes his depth there.— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) August 29, 2021
But the question remains to a lot of Steelers fans is who is Bryce Callahan, and how can he make the team better?
Callahan is a 29 year old, 5’9”, 188 pound corner who came into the league as an undrafted free agent of the Chicago Bears in 2015. Callahan is probably best known for his hard hitting style and ability to chase the quarterback from the corner position. Much like another player Steelers fans used to known. The difference between Mike Hilton and Callahan however is Hilton was given a lot more opportunity to blitz, while Callahan had more coverage responsibilities, where he was fairly successful.
A broken foot caused Callahan to miss the entirety of the 2019 season and parts of the the 2018 and 2020 season. But after finally having the correct surgery he is up and back to running 100%.
Acquiring Callahan won't actually cost much in terms of draft capital, but because of the Steelers lack of 2022 NFL Draft picks they would likely need to pull from the 2023 class. The Broncos also have by far the worst punter in the league, so sliding Jordan Berry into this deal feels like a clean and easy way to make the bodies work going either way.
Callahan will cost an acquiring team $7,176,471 in cap space here in 2021, the final year of his current deal. This can be minimized by renegotiating the deal, or adding void years, like how Colbert retooled so many this year. But the Steelers could swallow the entirety of that deal and still be fine financially for everything else.
If I had to predict a trade I think it would read as follows:
To Pittsburgh: Bryce Callahan
To Denver: 2023 fifth round pick, and P Jordan Berry. Followed by a secondary move of the Steelers either extending Callahan for another year (or two), or adding voided contract years to his deal to lower his 2021 cap hit.
All in all, I think this is the exact type of deal the Steelers should be in on, and Bryce Callahan is in fact the perfect trade target of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But what do you think? Should the Steelers attempted to acquire Bryce Callahan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.