5 players Steelers could sign in 2023 if they don’t extend Diontae Johnson

Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (56). Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (56). Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Diontae Johnson is set to make a lot of money soon, but here are five players the Pittsburgh Steelers could sign in 2023 if they let Johnson walk.

Getting a contract extension done with Minkah Fitzpatrick seemed like a piece of cake for new Pittsburgh Steelers general manager, Omar Khan. Minkah earned two First-Team All-Pro honors over the past three seasons and it was easy to see that the 25-year-old was going to become the NFL’s highest-paid safety.

However, the decision on whether or not to extend Diontae Johnson is much more difficult. After the wide receiver market was grossly inflated, Pittsburgh may not be able to get a deal done with the young receiver prior to the start of the season.

Not all news is bad, however. If the Steelers elect to let Johnson test the market in free agency next year, Pittsburgh will certainly have enough cap space to sign any player they want. Here are five 2023 free agents the Steelers could pursue next offseason if they don’t extend Diontae Johnson:

OG Quenton Nelson

Of the names on this list, I’m least confident that Quenton Nelson will actually be available when the 2023 free agency period begins. Currently, the three-time All-Pro offensive guard is set to play on the fifth-year option.

The Colts have not yet been able to work out a deal with Nelson because he wants to be paid like a top-flight offensive tackle despite being a guard. At 6’5” and 325 pounds with an outstanding blend of strength and athleticism, Nelson is one of a kind and the most valuable guard in the NFL, considering his age and accolades.

If Indianapolis does somehow let him hit the market, the Steelers could throw a massive offer his way from the money they saved by not signing Diontae Johnson. Nelson could have another 8-10 good years left in the tank and Pittsburgh could actually get a better player in exchange.