According to multiple reports, the Steelers are interested in a potential trade for Chicago Bears’ cornerback Jaylon Johnson. The rising star defensive back has allowed just 11 receptions on 26 targets this year, and is one of the most sought-after players on the market ahead of the 4 PM EST trade deadline.
The Bears are reportedly seeking multiple day two draft picks in exchange for Johnson, whom would presumably sign a long-term deal with his new team.
While Johnson would be a great and welcome upgrade to a Steelers’ cornerback room that has played poorly in 2023, it wouldn’t change the outlook of the Steelers’ season.
The defense is already keeping the Steelers in games. While from a base statistical standpoint, Pittsburgh’s defense looks like they’ve played poorly, they’ve also been on the field a ton because of their lackluster offense. In spite of that, they are still seventh in the NFL in EPA/play. and eighth in the NFL in EPA/dropback.
The biggest over-arching issue with the Steelers is their offense. In the last two seasons, they are 2-8 when their opponents score 20 or more points. In those two wins, they have needed the defense to score at least one touchdown. Pittsburgh is also 31st in the league in offensive touchdowns this season, 28th in passing yards, 29th in passer rating. I could continue- and I will. The Steelers are 30th in rushing yards, 29th in yards/carry, 29th in EPA/play, and 31st in success rate.
So while Jaylon Johnson would make the Steelers’ defense better, the defense isn’t the issue. As long as the offense continues to perform so poorly, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the ball- we’ve seen that be proven over the last three seasons. If they don’t fix the offense, every other move will be all for not and completely pointless.