Brandon Aiyuk trade won't solve the George Pickens problem on Steelers roster

Arizona Cardinals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Arizona Cardinals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Pittsburgh Steelers fans are head over heels with the idea of executing a trade for Brandon Auik. The 49ers star receiver is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and he has been one of the most efficient offensive weapons in the NFL since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2020.

On paper, a trade for Aiyuk makes perfect sense, the Steelers have a gaping hole at wide receiver after trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, and George Pickens is the only respectable option at the position.

But the Steelers have a problem that won't be solved with a Brandon Aiyuk trade.

Steelers could infuriate George Pickens with Brandon Aiyuk trade

Last year, the Steelers had two big problems in the wide receiver room: they were forced to deal with the emotions of Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. Johnson has been removed from the equation, and Pittsburgh has a chance to start fresh with Pickens, but making him take a backseat to Brandon Aiyuk might not be the best approach.

When Pickens is dialed in, he's phenomenal. Despite poor quarterback play last season, he found a way to be both efficient and productive as the team's biggest offensive threat. Now I'm interested to see how he could be used with a new offensive coordinator and better quarterbacks throwing him the football.

However, one thing we know about Arthur Smith is that he usually funnels targets through one player, and everyone else is just a side piece in the passing game. This was true when he had A.J. Brown in Tennessee and with how he used Drake London the past two seasons.

George Pickens can be that guy for Smith's offense... but not if Aiyik is part of the picture.

Theoretically, I love the idea of this dynamic duo stretching the field and working together to improve the offense, but this won't turn out as smoothly as we picture in our heads.

Aiyuk is already showing that he wants to leave town in the midst of a contract dispute with the 49ers, and Pickens has a hard time keeping his emotions in check. On a team that plans to run the football heavily, one of these players is going to draw the short straw, and it's not going to be the guy they trade high draft capital and turn around to pay $25+ million per season.

If Pickens has any chance to be a player who can be a true WR1 and earn a second contract in Pittsburgh, the Steelers can't force their top weapon to live in the shadow of another receiver. Trading for Brandon Aiyuk is not going to solve the problem the Steelers have with George Pickens; it's only going to make it worse.