The trade deadline is fast approaching. Here is one reason the Steelers should not be sellers.
The NFL trade deadline is right around the corner. Regardless of the outcome of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers should not, in my opinion, be sellers at the deadline. There have been numerous reports about teams possibly being interested in trading for Chase Claypool, for example, but should perceived desperation be the catalyst to make a trade?
I think the fact that we will have a losing record by the trade deadline and the fact that we have assets that other teams desire almost assures that we will make a move, but the question is should we make a move? I don’t think we should for one simple reason.
The Steelers may not acquire the draft capital necessary to replace the players we may trade away
That’s the one simple reason, right there. Let’s play out the Claypool trade scenario for a moment. Since he was a second-round pick and is still playing on his rookie contract, I believe that the starting point of any trade discussion would be at minimum a second-round pick in addition to a few more high draft picks.
If a team is willing to offer a trade package similar to what the 49ers gave the Panthers for Christian McCaffrey, I think the Steelers should at least entertain it; however, we would still have to replace Claypool in the 2023 draft, meaning we would have to use one of those draft picks on a receiver.
Let’s say the receiver we draft in 2023 does not pan out or is no better than Claypool. We essentially traded an established player for a replacement who is of equal caliber. What sense does that make?
The flip side of trading a player like Claypool is the message it sends to other players. Rather than holding onto a player whom we drafted and cultivated, we jettison him because we are in throes of a losing season.
Yes, we would garner additional draft picks by trading Claypool or any other player for that matter, but if we squander the picks we garnered, it would be tantamount to subtraction by subtraction as opposed to addition by subtraction.
I will say this: The only players for whom the Steelers should listen to trade offers are players who are currently playing on one-year deals and may not be ‘go-forward’ players. While trading those players may not yield much considering they would be ‘rental’ players for the team that traded for them, getting something is better than having them walk in free agency next year.
I think Mike Tomlin and company will have some difficult decisions to make prior to the trade deadline, but, for me, there really is only one decision: Stand pat unless a team makes an offer we can’t refuse. If we do make a trade, we had better put those picks to good use, otherwise it would reek of dysfunction.