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Grading the Steelers recent transactions at the NFL trade deadline

The BTSC staff gives their grades on the trades with Chase Claypool and William Jackson III.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 regular season is full swing, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are working on improving their roster heading into the rest of the 2022 season, and beyond. They made two trades before the November 1st trade deadline, and it is time for the BTSC staff to grade the following trades:

Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for a 2023 2nd Round pick.

William Jackson III to the Steelers from the Washington Commanders for conditional 6th and 7th round picks in 2025.

What does the staff think? Let’s take a look at the grades...

Jeff Hartman

If I’m being honest, I didn’t see the Steelers making any moves at the trade deadline. Sure, there had been rumors, but that doesn’t mean those rumors would come to fruition. When it came to the Claypool trade, they didn’t have to deal him unless they got an offer which they couldn’t refuse. The fact they could have a higher pick for him than what they used him for in the 2020 NFL Draft is extremely rare. You can’t pass on that. It’s safe to say I’m a huge fan of whoever plays the Bears from here on out.

As for the Jackson acquisition, this was a low risk, high reward acquisition. The compensation being late round picks in 2025, if Jackson pans out the team has a really good cornerback. If he doesn’t, they’ll know they can move on from him after this season. A good trade for the player everyone says the Steelers wanted back in 2016 before the Bengals took Jackson out from under their noses.

Claypool Grade: A

Jackson III Grade: B

Dave Schofield

I’m usually one of the people around here to live by the mantra of “trust the Steelers, they know so much more than we do.” And while I still believe this, it doesn’t mean that they knock it out of the park more often than not. I’m still feeling burnt by the drafting of Kendrick Green as I believed if the Steelers loved him then he was what they wanted. That hasn’t worked out so well. Plus, with a team sitting at 2–6, one’s confidence starts to waver overall.

This is why I graded both transactions as a B. I feel like they were good moves, but I don’t trust enough yet to think that they knocked them out of the park. The Steelers simply got too good of an offer to refuse with Chase Claypool and I have no problem with having another second-round draft pick next year, especially one which looks to be in the first half of the round. My biggest concern is if they will see a significant decrease in production in an already anemic offense that is last in the NFL in scoring. As for William Jackson III, I like the little bit they gave up for him as they didn’t lose any draft capital but only swapped rounds at the end of the 2023 2024 2025 draft. I’m not a big fan of how much he is set to cost in 2023, but the Steelers aren’t on the hook for any of it. I just hope Jackson plays to a level where the Steelers have to consider keeping him. If that’s the case, then I believe we can feel they knocked it out of the park.

Claypool Grade: B

Jackson III Grade: B

Bryan Anthony Davis

I’ve gone on record as of late in support of Chase Claypool. I love the passion of the former No. 11 for the Steelers. i also went on record in stating that the only way I would be fine with seeing him traded was if the compensation was very lucrative for Pittsburgh. BTSC Nation has heard me say that desperate teams make desperate moves. I never thought a GM in his right mind would give up a No. 2 for Chase. But everybody puts a value on different things. Claypool is valuable to the Bears and another No. 2 pick is huge for a team that needs help at many a position. I’m gonna miss Chase Claypool, but I’m going to love mock draft season even more.

The Jackson deal is really no risk, possible reward. If he upgrades the secondary, that would be fantastic. If he doesn’t you lose a little bit of position in 2025. I’ll make that bet. I don’t understand anybody grading this trade low, you lose virtually nothing if he doesn’t pan out. It’s called going for it.9

Claypool Grade: A

Jackson III Grade: A

K.T. Smith

The Claypool trade is a steal. The Steelers couldn’t figure out how to maximize his potential, and with a new OC likely coming next season, it was smart to move on from him and let the new coordinator have a say in reshaping the offense. The compensation for Claypool — a 2nd Round pick likely to be high in the round — is better than nearly everyone imagined. The Steelers didn’t have to trade Claypool, but they found an offer they loved and wisely pulled the trigger.

The Jackson trade doesn’t do much for me. He’s on the back end of his career with a string of recent injuries. I’d be shocked if he sticks past this season. That means he’s a $3 million rental (I believe that’s the number Dave Schofield quoted) for 9 games in a losing season. I don’t hate it, but I’m not exactly turning cartwheels.

Claypool Grade: A

Jackson III Grade: C

Geoffrey Benedict

The Steelers got a good return for Chase Claypool. That’s good. But I don’t like the trade. Claypool hasn’t taken off in Pittsburgh, but his best games were with Diontae Johnson out. I’ve said for a while I think Claypool is best in the X receiver role, where Diontae Johnson plays. Claypool could very well pull an Emmanuel Sanders and take off on a team that can play him where he fits best. And this time the Steelers aren’t keeping Antonio Brown, Diontae Johnson hasn’t been the most convincing WR1.

William Jackson III is finally a Pittsburgh Steeler. Jackson III has been connected in rumors to the Steelers since the Bengals took him one spot before the Steelers drafted Artie Burns. The trade cost was low, the Steelers need help in the secondary. Jackson III isn’t a big acquisition for the franchise, but it’s a needed addition right now.

Claypool Grade: B

Jackson III Grade: B

Rich Schofield (Big Bro Scho)

I am so used to seeing the trade deadline come and go every year and the Steelers not making any moves, that I was caught totally off guard yesterday. To be honest I had even forgotten that it was the trade deadline day, as the Steelers are usually not participants. The trade of Chase Claypool brought good return for the Steelers as the draft pick the receive in return will likely be higher than the one the used to draft Claypool. Pair that with the Steelers recent success at acquiring WR talent in the draft and this deal turned into a no brainer once the Bears came onboard for a 2nd rounder.

The William Jackson III trade was a little more ho-hum. Had the Commanders not found a trade partner they most likely would have released Jackson and the Steelers may have been able to still acquire him at a discounted price. I don’t see Jackson sticking past this year unless a contract restructure would be worked out.

Claypool Grade: A-

Jackson III Grade: C+

Shannon White

Chase Claypool was the ultimate tease for Steelers fans. We were all intrigued by his freakish athleticism as a rookie, before we realized he had no idea how to adequately utilize his own God given talents. Even worse, he lacked the work ethic, intensity, and maturity needed to learn and grow. I was hopeful that working from the slot this season would allow him to utilize his impressive run after the catch ability, but the results have been sporadic to say the least. The Steelers couldn't refuse what potentially could turn out to be an early second round selection, especially for the production they have been given this season.

I expected the Steelers to be sellers, not buyers, at the trading deadline. So you can imagine my surprise when the second breaking news alert of the day for the Steelers was the Steelers trading for William Jackson lll. My first thought was, "Tomlin finally got his man!" Apparently, old draft crushes never die. Speaking of old, Jackson is no spring chicken, and has been dealing with numerous injuries in recent seasons. Hopefully he has retained his 4.4 speed, and playing for Tomlin and the Steelers will rejuvenate his career. He has the speed and quickness to shadow receivers, and is most effective in man coverage. If the Steelers let him play to his strengths, he may contribute. If not, no big deal.

Claypool Grade: A

Jackson III Grade: C

Jeremy Betz

Omar Khan has been anything but Kevin Colbert throughout his first season as GM, and he strikes again with two solid trades in the waning hours of the Trade Deadline.

Finding a trade partner willing to send a 2nd-round pick for Chase Claypool boarders on swindling, and the Steelers start their 2023 retooling with potentially 3 picks in the top 40. That's BIG! Claypool’s talent plateaued in Pittsburgh, whether from poor coaching or just capped skills who knows? If he goes off in Chicago of all places, I think we may get our answer

Buying William Jackson III and a 2025 7th for a 2025 6th is like bidding $1 for a toaster on Ebay and nobody else bids. Basically free, and if it works, you get a great deal! If it doesn't, it cost a buck. Still feels a little Justin Gilbert-y to me, though. Hopefully this reclamation project goes better. I would have preferred a go at Seattle’s Sidney Jones.

Claypool Grade: A

Jackson III Grade: B-

Bradley Locker

Ironically enough, I wrote last week that the Steelers shouldn’t move Claypool during this season. You might be wondering, then, why I view this transaction so highly. It’s entirely about value. While Claypool possesses supreme raw talent, netting a second-round pick — and the Bears’ at that — for a player who has routinely gotten in his own way the last two years is exceptional value. We very might well look back at this trade in a few months with bemusement at why the Bears did this.

The Steelers just can’t hide their infatuation for certain players, and Jackson is one of them. This move was somewhat surprising given that Pittsburgh has effectively turned to 2023, but there’s little at risk with adding Jackson for just a 2025 conditional sixth-rounder. At worst, the Steelers can move on and/or decline his option by February; at best, Teryl Austin harnesses first-round talent at a position of major need. Regardless, this move doesn’t change the fact that Pittsburgh must select a top cornerback in April.

Claypool Grade: A-

Jackson III Grade: B

Kyle Chrise (What Yinz Talkin’ Bout)

The value for Chase is great, but its implications for the 2022 season make me sad. It’s a move for the future, not the present. All the Steelers hope now shifts to the April draft. Not a familiar feeling in November. The Jackson trade is low risk, so there’s really only potential for upside.

Claypool Grade: Pass

Jackson III Grade: Pass

Anthony Defeo

I was like Jeff in that I didn't expect the Steelers to make any moves at the deadline, and I certainly didn't see them subtracting a third-year receiver in Chase Claypool. But with the season dangerously close to being over, and with Pittsburgh in desperate need of premium draft picks, there's nothing to hate about the second-round pick the Steelers got in return for Claypool. My opinion may have been different, if not for the presence of George Pickens, who appears headed for superstardom. The Steelers need to rebuild in the trenches, and having three picks in the first two rounds gives them a chance to try and do that.

As for the Jackson deal, I don't see it as a move that will drastically improve the corner play, but if he can give the secondary more than what Witherspoon or Wallace have, it would be an upgrade. They didn't part with much, and he won't have to cost them a whole lot of they don't want him to in end.

Claypool Grade: A

Jackson III Grade: C+

What is your grade? Let us know in the comment section below, and feel free to tell the contributors above why they are dead wrong, or spot on!