The Pittsburgh Steelers have been busy recently. After singing Minkah Fitzpatrick to a new 5-year contract last week, the team added defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi to their deep depth chart of defensive linemen. It has equated in the team’s salary cap space dwindling, and this begs the question if the team is done making moves this offseason?
The next move to be made, and why it hasn’t happened yet is a mystery, would likely be the singing of 2022 NFL Draft pick Kenny Pickett. Pickett isn’t just the only member of the Steelers’ seven player class left unsigned, but is also the last first round pick to sign on the dotted line.
Since this move is inevitable, you have to wonder if there are any other moves left for the team to make. Fans will tell you there are more moves to be made, but it doesn’t mean Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin agree with the assessment.
For instance, many will suggest the Steelers could add a veteran running back to their depth chart to help spell Najee Harris from time to time. Others will suggest bringing in another capable cornerback to bolster the proven depth at that position. Another option would be the team to give new contracts to some of their own players. Players like Chris Boswell or Diontae Johnson.
In a recent ESPN article written by Field Yates, he projected one final move for each NFL team before training camps begin. For Pittsburgh, he had them extending Diontae Johnson’s contract.
See what Yates’ thought process was behind the decision:
Extend wide receiver Diontae Johnson
The Steelers knocked off one major item from the to-do list when they extended safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on a record-setting deal for his position last week. Now, Johnson is put further into focus. He is just the latest in a string of outstanding wideouts drafted by the team not in the first round and deserves a lucrative deal. He is only 25 and has shown legitimate improvement in each of his first three seasons. The wide receiver market has exploded this offseason, so a deal with surely be a pricey one.
The suggestion of extending Johnson isn’t out of left field. In fact, anyone who has a platform of some kind has discussed this throughout the current offseason. However, agreeing on the value of Johnson is where things go off the rails. Johnson, coming off a Pro Bowl season, still has issues with drops, and where he stands among the league’s best receivers is up for debate.
As Yates suggests, the deal would be a pricey one for the Steelers. Is Khan willing to make that move, and allocate that kind of money into Johnson and his future with the team? Or is he a player the organization views as expendable and let’s walk in free agency?
If you don’t count JuJu Smith-Schuster’s one-year, void year laden, contract a year ago, the last receiver to get a second contract in Pittsburgh was Antonio Brown. In recent history, the team is more willing, and likely, to move on from a receiver than keep them in the fold. It is unknown whether Khan will take that same approach, or if he will blaze a new trail as it pertains to the retention of talent.
What do you think? Should the Steelers make another move before training camp? If so, what move would you make? Or would you prefer the Steelers to save some cap space for emergency, and be willing to roll it over to 2023 if need be?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the start of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th.