As the NFL trade deadline approaches, the first-place Steelers may find themselves in “buyer” mode to stay ahead in the AFC North. General Manager Omar Khan has proven aggressive throughout his brief duration at the helm.
This offseason, Khan signed veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, mauling guard Isaac Seaumalu, and steady inside linebacker Elandon Roberts, among other regular starters. Khan was also very active on the trade front. He moved up to select Georgia’s Broderick Jones, who the Steelers hope can protect quarterback Kenny Pickett’s blind side for the next decade, in the NFL Draft. He also acquired wide receiver Allen Robinson in a deal with the Los Angeles Rams.
Let’s just say, Khan’s not afraid to wheel and deal.
Taking that into consideration, here are four players that should be on the Steelers' radar ahead of the 2023 trade deadline.
CB Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos
This probably falls under the “pipe dream” category, as the Broncos’ young cornerback, Patrick Surtain II, is arguably the top player on the trade market. It just so happens that he also plays the position the Steelers could use the most help at.
Veterans Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace have been underwhelming in the secondary and likely won’t be donning black and gold in 2024. Surtain is only 23 years old and is under control through 2024, with the potential to pick up his fifth-year option in the 2025 season. The Steelers could pair Surtain Jr. with Joey Porter Jr. to create an exciting pairing for years to come. The Juniors!
However, the first question from the Broncos brass, whenever they see Khan’s face pop up on their caller ID, will be, “How many future first-round picks can you give us?”
It’d cost a pretty penny.
S Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers
Meet Jeremy Chinn. He’s just as versatile. The former first-round pick can play safety, linebacker, and nickel-back. The Steelers have a few Swiss army knife types in Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee, but Chinn would be an immediate upgrade.
The Carolina Panthers are 0-5 and Chinn is also in the final year of his contract. He’d be a great fit as a potential rental. The Steelers haven’t had a great Chinn since Bill Cowher.
WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Arizona Cardinals
Now we’re cooking with grease.
The Arizona Cardinals receiver is in the final year of his contract and the Cardinals could begin their inevitable fire sale soon.
Fans of the Steelers know Brown well due to his time spent playing in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens. Generally, when he’s on the field, he’s the fastest player in the stadium. He’s been productive this season, hauling in 25 passes for 300 yards and three scores.
This trade suggestion doesn’t mean I necessarily see the Steelers wide receiver room as a weak spot on the team. But when you can strengthen a strength, it certainly can’t hurt. It’s not like this offense is the greatest show on turf right now.
LB Frank Clark, Denver Broncos
Outside linebacker is the strongest positional group on this roster, however, T.J. Watt reportedly suffered a badly dislocated finger with “multiple ruptured tendons” in their win against the Ravens.
While Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, and Nick Herbig would all certainly acquit themselves well if Watt has to miss time, it would still be prudent for Khan to make a move for more depth.
Clark has been banged up, so he won’t cost an arm and a leg. The Steelers would only be on the hook for a little over $1 million for the rest of the season. At the end of the day, there’s not a ton of downside to adding a two-time Super Bowl champion with 58.5 career sacks to his name.
It may be time for Khan’s next magic trick. Let’s see what he has up his sleeve.