The Steelers season is essentially washed at this point, and the team would be wise to open up the fire sale before the trade deadline.
The Steelers put together yet another stinker this week. Despite the promise of change and a more competitive team, the team limped into the Eagles game and once again struggled to do anything on either side of the ball. With a pathetic 2-6 record heading into the bye week, the season is essentially over.
While some point out the turnarounds this team has had in years past, I am not the optimist this year. The offense is struggling to move the ball, and even when they do, Pickett has been very mistake-prone. The defense is set to get T.J. Watt back following the bye, and while he does move the needle, it isn’t going to be enough to salvage this season.
With the trade deadline on Tuesday, the Steelers must open up the fire sale. Giving in and embracing the bad season is against the grain of what the team typically does, but there is little reason not to right now. Even when fully healthy this team is an average team at best. Moving on from players now and gaining draft capital is the best move for this team.
The Steelers have obvious trade bait
In any given year, the Steelers (and essentially every NFL team) will have a handful of players that offer some sort of trade value at the deadline. This year is no different in Pittsburgh, as there are three obvious names that could be moved soon.
Devin Bush is in the middle of the final year of his rookie deal, and while his play has improved from the disaster he showcased last year, he has been far from an impact player. You wouldn’t get much for him, but a team may part with a late-round pick if they have a linebacker need. Mason Rudolph is in a similar boat, but the odds of him returning next year are zero.
The best traditional trade bait this team has is Chase Claypool. While the beginning of this season was tough for the veteran, he has turned into a dependable receiver down the stretch. They reportedly want a second-round pick for Claypool, but any day two pick or early day three pick should be more than enough to unload him.
The Steelers shouldn’t stop there
While those three represent the traditional trade targets the team could trade, in no way should that limit Pittsburgh from stopping there. Very few players should be safe at this point on the roster. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick are obvious. I would also argue the rookie class as well as Pat Freiermuth should be secure as well. Beyond that, anyone should be fair game.
Najee Harris is a name that sticks out to me as an obvious candidate. The second-year running back has been horrible this season. He tries far too often to make a move despite not being a great athlete and it has led to mediocre runs from the back. If the team could recoup a third for him at this point, I would be running to accept the deal.
Cam Heyward is another name that could make sense. The veteran would be a hard face to lose, but at his age, he likely won’t be playing well once this roster is set to compete again. The team can give him some choice in the matter, as he has earned that given his status to the team, but if a competitor is willing to give a fair deal and he was willing to go, Heyward is a logical trade option.
This isn’t to say the team should trade anyone if they receive an offer. Trading talent for low draft picks isn’t a recipe for success either. That said, if teams provide a fair deal for almost any player right now, they should take it. The team needs to add some more resources to use in the offseason.
If it wasn’t clear before, the Steelers season is over heading into the bye week. The team is in disarray right now, and even a return of Watt won’t solve much. With the trade deadline upon us, the Steelers need to make an aggressive move and open the roster up to a fire sale.