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What acquiring Deshaun Watson would do to the Steelers’ roster

Swinging a deal like this would mean ramifications both good and bad.

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The NFL has gone bonkers the last week. Big name trades, contract extensions, and players being released. This offseason is starting to heat up like mad. One of the next big dominos expected to fall is that of a Deshaun Watson trade off the Houston Texans’ roster. Of course the Pittsburgh Steelers are a team looking for its next franchise quarterback, so naturally Steelers fans and media alike want to put two and two together. If the Steelers were able to pull a move like this off it would certainly be one that is breaks character, when it comes to trades. But it would also signify a massive improvement at the most important quarterback position.

With conflicting media reports of whether the Steelers are involved or not, the fact of the matter is the way Watson‘s contract is set up he will have the final say to wherever he gets traded. Because of his no trade clause it keeps any team that’s interested involved until the very end. But if the Steelers did acquire Watson, what would it mean for the rest of the team? The Steelers still have fundamental issues all along their offensive line, inside linebackers, and have 3/4 of their starting secondary about to hit the free-agent market. Below are some of the numbers that acquiring Watson would do to the salary cap, as well as the draft picks the team would have to give away to facilitate such a deal.

Steelers current cap space: $27,096,582 (Via/Over The Cap)
DeShaun Watson’s acquired cap hit: $24,200,000 (Texans pay $16.2 million)
Remainder: $2,896,582

Steelers current 2022 draft picks: 20, 52, 84, 138 (likely comp pick), 190, 223, 239
Potential draft picks involved trade: 3 1st round picks (‘22, ‘23, ‘24)

The most obvious thing which becomes apparent with a deal for Deshaun Watson is almost all of the Steelers available cap space getting eaten up by the contract. Yes, they are easily able to create more cap space by restructuring deals to T.J. Watt, and Cam Heyward as well as releasing Joe Schobert and Zach Banner. Keep in mind the Steelers like to have $10 million in cap space when entering any given season, and it seems like, for now, none of those moves are in this team’s immediate future. If the Steelers acquire Watson the offensive line in front of him will struggle just as much as they did in 2021, and won’t have much in terms of reinforcement.

On top of all that, losing three consecutive first round picks would hurt this team. In 2022 the Steelers are already limited with what they can do in the draft having such few picks. If the Steelers gave up their first, and potentially even second round pick this year, there will be next to no rookie impact on the team, which, with the amount of holes this roster has, wouldn’t be a very good thing.

Of course, there are a lot of positives with adding one of the better quarterbacks in the game, but any rebuild will still take just as long trying to piece together a roster around Watson which is capable of winning a championship. Right now the Steelers roster isn’t good enough and the quarterback position isn’t anywhere close to being of that level. One offseason will not fix all of the fundamental issues with this team, but they can absolutely get better this year.

But what do you think? Can you justify trading for Deshaun Watson without first fixing the other flaws with this roster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.