The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a very active 2022 offseason. Between retaining a number of their own players such as Chuks Okorafor, Terrell Edmunds, and Ahkello Witherspoon, the Steelers also made a bigger splash in free agency than in years past. The addition of quarterback Mitch Trubisky as well as offensive linemen James Daniels and Mason Cole to the offense as well as landing Myles Jack and Levi Wallace with the defense, the Steelers have made multiple steps to improve the roster. Add in the late edition of Larry Ogunjobi after the Steelers 2022 NFL draft in which they drafted they received the first quarterback taken and it’s been an eventful few months.
But what was the Steelers best offseason move so far in 2022?
As fans trudge through the downtime in early summer before teams report to training camp, there are plenty of national outlets to address questions such as these. In a recent article by Pro Football Focus (PFF) where they gave what they believe to be the best move for every AFC team, it was none of the players listed above which they decided to be the Steelers most significant move. Instead, it was the Steelers second-round draft pick which PFF deemed to be the most significant.
Here is the breakdown by Brad Spielburger of Pro Football Focus:
DRAFTING WR GEORGE PICKENS
No team has done a better job over the last two decades of finding wide receiver talent outside of the first round, developing these players into upper echelon contributors on their rookie contracts and most often letting them walk in free agency as they rinse and repeat.
It’s possible the Steelers and wide receiver Diontae Johnson find common ground on a multi-year extension either before the 2022 campaign or after the season, but Pittsburgh has no reason to pay an amount they’re not comfortable with.
Adding Georgia wide receiver George Pickens and Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin III to a position room that also includes Chase Claypool gives them leverage and flexibility moving forward. Throw in tight end Pat Freiermuth and the Steelers still potentially have a dynamic group of young pass-catchers even without their top option of the past several years.
While I am not going to disagree with this choice for the Steelers, I find myself ecstatic just that there were so many options. The Steelers are known for drafting quality wide receivers, especially in the Kevin Colbert era. But not every wide receiver drafted by the Steelers has made a significant contribution, especially right away, as even JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s outstanding rookie season took until mid year until he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game. Looking at the most recent example, Chase Claypool was eased into action his rookie season even if it only took four weeks.
There is definitely a void at wide receiver George Pickens will have the opportunity to fill, so it will be interesting to see how quickly the Steelers get Pickens onto the field for the majority of the offensive snaps. Other moves the Steelers made this offseason are likely to contribute much earlier than what some are expecting Pickens to do, but the story is yet to be written.
As for the rest of the AFC North, the best offseason moves according to PFF for each team is as follows:
TRADING WR MARQUISE BROWN AND PICK NO. 100 FOR PICK NO. 23
ADDING THREE STARTING OL FOR LESS THAN $9 MILLION PER YEAR EACH
TRADING FOR WR AMARI COOPER
Although it’s interesting to see what the greatest move is according to various sources during the summer, what is more important is to be the most significant offseason move looking back once the year is complete. With all the possibilities for the Steelers, if George Pickens is still the best choice, Steelers fans will have a lot to be excited about.
For those interested in checking out the best offseason moves for the entire NFL, those for each NFC team can be seen HERE.