Antonio Brown has submitted his trade request meaning the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely one wide receiver short from their 2018 core.
James Washington didn’t turn into JuJu Smith-Schuster in year one. Unlike his teammate drafted one year early, the Oklahoma State star didn’t see the field every game in 2018. With drop issues and needed confidence, the rookie spent time as the fourth receiver in Pittsburgh, but hopes to develop into the team’s No. 2 option.
It’s going to take time, though. Even if he comes in the season ready to play every week, the Steelers want to have another reliable name on the field for Washington’s second campaign.
They aren’t looking for a superstar. Antonio Brown is impossible to replace, but there are names in free agency that can come in for a year or two and give this team a player to work with. In the mean time, this allows Washington to develop into a true No. 2 receiver.
It doesn’t eliminate any free agent receiver, but it makes these three names more appealing than others. Whether it’s an aging veteran or an outside version of Ryan Switzer, Pittsburgh is going to look for another option for Ben Roethlisberger.
It’ll come after Brown is traded. The Steelers won’t make any moves if they still have their All-Pro on the roster, but chances are they don’t. So, once he’s gone, the Steelers will consider either drafting or signing a replacement. With Washington still trying to be a star in this league, it makes more sense to sign and look at these three players.