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A Letter From the Editor: Be careful with the “Steelers would never” talk

When you hear rumors about players potentially wanting a new home, be careful with what you say.

NFL: SEP 22 Steelers at 49ers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Towards the end of last week news broke of Arizona Cardinals All-Pro safety Budda Baker wanting out of Arizona. I don’t blame him. He’s a talented player on a team which looks like they are on the cusp of a habitual rebuild. Despite his current contract, the man wants a change of scenery.

In case you missed the news:

Arizona Cardinals five-time Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker has requested a trade, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.

Baker informed the Cardinals in February that he wanted to be traded or receive a new deal to make him the highest-paid safety, the source said.

Baker is owed $13.1 million this season and $14.2 million in 2024 from a four-year, $59 million extension he signed in 2020 that made him the highest-paid NFL safety at the time.

Baker has played all six of his NFL seasons with the Cardinals after being drafted by them in the second round in 2017, leading the team with 111 tackles last season and intercepting two passes.

Baker is a two-time All-Pro who has established himself as the heart and soul of the Cardinals’ defense because of how he plays with a reckless abandon.

When this happened, Pittsburgh Steelers fans asked the question:

“Should the Steelers trade for Baker?”

While some might have gotten excited about the thought of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Baker prowling the secondary, most who were brave enough to verbalize, or type, their thoughts with responses like this.

“You don’t know ball.”

“You’re crazy.”

“The Steelers would NEVER do that.”

Well, you might want to ease up on the “never” talk. After all, do we need to take a trip down memory lane? All the way in 2019?

I remember hearing the rumors of Miami Dolphins second year safety Minkah Fitzpatrick wanting out of Miami. I wrote the article and suggested the Steelers could be interested. What was the response like to the article?

You guessed it...I was bashed for even bringing it up.

The same responses I listed above were listed in length among the many comments on this very website.

While I could have written a “told you I wasn’t crazy” article after the Steelers sent Miami a 2020 1st Round draft pick for Fitzpatrick, I didn’t. But I did remember the reaction and how it should be used as a warning for the future.

Be careful saying the Steelers would never do something.

This specific situation is far different from the one in 2019. Minkah was on his rookie contract, where Baker has a hefty contract which would need to be absorbed by any team who wants to complete a trade for his services.

However, back to the premise of this article, there is another wrinkle which many fans need to remember when they are considering what the Steelers could, or would, do. That would be the new front office.

If you haven’t been paying attention this offseason, Omar Khan and Andy Weidl are determined to do things differently. They are parting ways with the previous regime’s players, and constructing a roster they think can turn into a perennial winner. Have they done enough? We won’t know that until the season begins, but you can’t say the team hasn’t been handling things differently since Khan took over.

“They’ll never get a high draft pick for Chase Claypool.”

Omar Khan’s response? “Watch me.”

I get it, we all want to be right. It’s in our nature, but at some point you have to understand there are a lot of moving parts here, and none of us are privy to the information and conversations happening within the organization.

Are the Steelers going to trade for Budda Baker?

It’s not likely, but I’ve learned enough to never say the Steelers won’t ever do something.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor article runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)