A critical issue from the NFL offseason Steelers seem doomed to face

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Regardless of how much we may hate to hear it, it’s true: Sports are a business. They make a lot of money, a portion of it goes to the players, and sometimes we see disputes over how much should.

This is a dynamic we endure all the time, including every offseason. However, this year’s has served as a masterclass on the topic, and that’s especially evident at the wide receiver position.

Take a look at some of the biggest WR talents in the league, and the variety of situations they have recently found themselves in, such as Calvin Ridley, Tyler Boyd, Keenan Allen, and Justin Jefferson, among others—each of them were involved in a seismic career shift, whether it be through a change of scenery, finances, or some mixture of both.

Thankfully, we didn’t see any of these scenarios grow particularly dramatic, and were spared from witnessing the fallout of one of those “disputes” I referenced just a moment ago. The same cannot be said for another notable receiver though, and that’s CeeDee Lamb.

Being the headlining receiver on what has been one of the NFL’s most elite offenses, CeeDee Lamb is undoubtedly deserving of Dallas’s highest praises. So, when he sees a fellow stud—like the aforementioned Justin Jefferson, for example—making big-money moves with his franchise, he probably feels that his own is disrespecting him by not being as eager to give him similar treatment, and that's what brings on a dispute.

This one in particular has seemingly pulled no punches, with just about every concerning headline that it can spawn turning up as of late, including ones about Lamb missing voluntary workouts, missing a mandatory camp, and being traded for this or that (with the last subject really gaining speed these past couple of days).

As a fan, these talks always come with the fear that your own franchise could soon be staring down the barrel as well due to one of its own stars. I mean heck, if Lamb is fueling his fire with the news of the Jefferson extension, do you honestly think other players of his status wouldn’t do the same? Of course, they would.

That brings this discussion to the Steelers and, as I’m sure one would expect, who that player is on their roster. To me, it’s as clear as day: George Pickens.

It’s the pairing of Pickens’ talent and attitude that makes this such a no-brainer

Now, no matter how many times you read that back to yourself, it’s probably going to sound like an insult every time, but it’s not meant to. Rather, it’s simply the facts.

Think about it: Especially with Diontae Johnson out the door, who’s the biggest name on Pittsburgh’s receiving corps by both visual and statistical impact? Pickens. Throughout his short time in the league, has Pickens been a quiet, mellow figure? Absolutely not; he brings energy and confidence, being a fiery presence on every down he plays.

That dude, with his insane ability and loud ego, could very well be in Lamb’s shoes just a couple of years from now, taking a stand against his organization over differing opinions on his worth—a thought that is only strengthened by how well the two align statistically.

Pickens’ seasonal stats are off to a start eerily similar to that of Lamb’s

When looking at Pickens’ performance in the NFL so far, one simply can’t deny his greatness, with him having already amassed 1,941 yards and nine touchdowns through the air over just two years.

In fact, the numbers are so great that they are only behind those of Lamb’s first two years by 96 yards and two scores, or one strong game. That’s it. Oh, and to answer for that gap, I’d like to bring everyone’s attention to how Lamb had the advantage that comes with considerably better quarterback play.

It’s one thing to make the observation that Pickens could eventually remind us of Lamb in some straightforward, psychological fashion, but when you notice that he’s already a mathematical equivalent to him, that gives things a tad more volume, no?

What’s my point in saying all of this?

I’m not wanting this whole rant to come off as a press of the panic button for multi-billion-dollar franchises, but at the end of the day, I’m not a fan of one player—I’m a fan of the Steelers. Therefore, I’m going to worry about how they’re impacted by this type of news first.

Could that stance be boosted by paranoia birthed from some of Pittsburgh’s prior experiences? Perhaps, but that at least means the roots of it are intact for good reason.

With that said, I have no clue as to whether negotiations with George Pickens will ever be a problem, and if so, when. Yet if I may, solely for the sake of being on the safe side, pitch a generic suggestion for the hypothetical, it would be to attempt meeting whatever financial desires he ultimately has, because let’s be honest: Who wouldn’t want a dawg like CeeDee Lamb on their team?

Next. So much for Mike Tomlin needing to 'prove' himself as HC. So much for Mike Tomlin needing to 'prove' himself as HC. dark