clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Which members of the Steelers could be potential trade bait this offseason

New, comments

With the combine only recently over, the question on everyone's lips has been the draft, and rightly so, but the draft is always exciting. Trades also happen in the offseason, let's not forget that. Which players could be trade bait for Pittsburgh this offseason?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have weaknesses on their roster. Cornerback comes to mind, but tight end, defensive line and even quarterback all have questions as well. Everyone has been talking about the draft as a way to solve these issues, but Pittsburgh can also trade - for more draft picks, and possibly other players.

Pittsburgh's overall selections this draft are not the best, with picks in the following rounds: first, second, third, fourth and then nothing until two in the seventh. Only two other teams have less than this, the Cowboys and the Falcons. Other teams have as many as nine picks in the draft (the Bears, Eagles and 49ers to be specific).

What is stopping Pittsburgh targeting their extra picks in exchange for necessity? These teams, as with all teams, have problems that need to be solved. Here are some players that could draw the attention of other teams (not just those listed above) if put on the trade block.

Arthur Moats, OLB

Firstly, Moats is a good player. He had 35 tackles this season, not phenomenal, but certainly not poor. He also had four sacks in 2015 - pretty good. There are better players at the position on the roster, James Harrison to be specific, who had 40 tackles and five sacks. This means that Moats is not likely to be missed. In fact, Pittsburgh has a surplus of linebackers - Ryan Shazier, Bud Dupree, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, Jarvis Jones and Vince Williams (more on him later). All this means is that if there is one position that Pittsburgh could, and should, be using as trade bait, it is linebacker.

Teams in need of a player like Moats are commonplace; here are a few: Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. All of these teams have picks that can benefit the Steelers. Moats could find himself rather popular if he were to hit the trade block.

Vince Williams, ILB

Williams is in a similar situation to Moats - good, but not the best stats, and at a position of surplus. This year he made 46 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Bear in mind he made no starts this year, which shines a light on his overall statistics. If not for Shazier and Timmons, Williams would likely be a starter.

ILB seems to be a position that again is in need in the NFL. A couple teams that could be interested are: San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders. There are teams who could use a player like Williams, and although it would be sad to see him go, it could help the organization in the long run.

Alejandro Villanueva, OT

Villanueva surprised me this past season. For someone who came in to fill a gap on the line with no game experience, he played well. It's sad to say that I think he won't be playing at Heinz field for much longer. First of all, let's look of the buzz around the need to re-sign Kelvin Beachum. Beachum needs to be playing for the Steelers, he's that valuable. He will be Pittsburgh's priority as soon as his contract is up. Villanueva has proven his worth; however, he started ten games and Pittsburgh is considered to have one of the better O-lines in the league. Villanueva's value has risen massively, even though he may not be a huge talent and is actually relatively unproven.

Teams are crying out for OTs, and being as Villanueva will likely go cheap, the list of teams that could go for him is long. Teams that could be interested are: Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets to name most of them. If tossed around as trade bait, Villanueva will certainly have some suitors.

Markus Wheaton

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been known for the last couple years to have a GREAT, and likely the best, receiver corps. Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant immediately come to mind, but Wheaton is a player that is not targeted as regularly and is not praised as often as Brown and Bryant. Wheaton, as long as these two players are on the roster, will not be 'the man' in the Steel City. This does not mean is not a good player. This season he had 749 yards and averaged 17 yards per reception. These are good stats. Couple that with five touchdowns, it is clear he has the talent, but he could be an asset to any team in need of a quality receiver, or even an option beside their star.

Teams that could be interested are: San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills. Wheaton could find a home at any of these teams, and would fit in very well.

All in all, I want to make it clear that Pittsburgh can use trade bait to get more picks and/or players to fix their depth chart. With a draft as weak as this one on the offensive side of the ball (despite the strengths on the defensive side), this may be the solution to some of these problems.

As enticing as it may be to trade some of these players in a trade, the Steelers rarely make a move which isn't a necessity. If they chose to dangle a player or two on the chopping block, they could have some teams picking up the phone with interest.