Trade options the Pittsburgh Steelers have to consider before the deadline

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7), wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19), and wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7), wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19), and wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Myles Jack (44) Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The inside presence of what was the most ferocious defense in the NFL in 2017

The Pittsburgh Steelers have to look into trading for Myles Jack. This is the kind of high profile trade for a premier player that Pittsburgh doesn’t normally pull off mid-season. It makes it even harder considering the Jaguars are also in the AFC. However, the Jaguars are obviously in rebuild mode as of now. They traded away Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue this off-season and just traded safety Ronnie Harrison to the Browns at the beginning of the month. They also released Leonard Fournette. These were key players of this team just 3 years ago.

With a new franchise quarterback in his sophomore season Gardner Minshew appearing to be the guy, and a new high-level runner in rookie James Robinson the offense is almost ready. The team needs to add another weapon or two in the passing game, and they should look into improving their offensive line as well. The Jaguars have already accumulated some draft value for some of their other players and with Myles Jack’s monster contract bringing a cap hit of over 15 million this season and over 10 million the next 3 years they are definitely going to look for options to trade him. That is where the Pittsburgh Steelers come in.

They have James Washington who is a quality deep threat in the NFL even if he is rarely getting used in the first 6 games of the season. JuJu showed in Week 7 that he can still be the guy to go to in key situations with all of his 3rd down conversions and they are going to look to sign him if at all possible. So what do the Steelers do with a young weapon that is still developing in the 3rd year of his rookie contract? They look to trade him along with a 3rd round draft pick, or a combination of a 4th and 5th round draft pick for one of the better linebackers in the league.

This doesn’t seem like a home run for the Jaguars but it gives them the rest of the season, and the entire final season on Washingon’s contract to evaluate a possibly legitimate deep threat in the league while dumping off a huge contract. Jack is good borderline great in coverage and falls along the same lines when defending the run. He is an every down linebacker that is only 25 and he would look even better surrounded by so much talent as he is entering his prime.

Jack’s contract would be the biggest issue for the Steelers going beyond this season and they would likely have to trim down a contract or two now. They could look into restructuring the contracts of players like Vince Williams, Stephon Tuitt, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Haden, or even Alejandro Viallnueava. Even with doing this, they would be tight on cap, and losing another key starter would be next to impossible to cover up from outside of the organization.

However, Robert Spillane plays fast, and we held our breath as he left the field in the second half with a shoulder injury only to come back and play later. I am worried about his build and his ability to stay healthy on a 10 game stretch before the playoffs when facing some physical teams like the Ravens twice, the Colts, and even the Browns who are going to play a lot more physical in hopes of making the playoffs in the final game of the season. If they lose their top depth in the ILB spot due to injury they are going to have a lot more issues to worry about than cap after the trade deadline.

I propose that the Pittsburgh Steelers offer James Washingon paired with a 2020 5th round pick and a 2021 4th round pick for Myles Jack and a 2021 5th round pick.