How the Steelers turned Kendrick Green into Justin Fields through the art of trade

Omar Khan ultimately swapped an unplayable offensive lineman for a potential starting quarterback. Here's how it all started.

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers
Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

In Season 7, Episode 18 of "The Office" titled "Garage Sale", paper salesman Dwight Schrute demonstrates the 'art of the swap'. Using the power of persuasion, Dwight started the garage sale with nothing but a thumbtack. After a series of trades, he found himself with a telescope (only to be duped into trading his telescope for a packet of 'magic' beans by co-worker, Jim Halpert).

That's essentially what Omar Khan did when he traded for Justin Fields (without the magic beans part). The Pittsburgh Steelers general manager made one trade after the next with no apparent plan in sight until he suddenly found himself with a big upgrade over what he started with.

On the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers announced that offensive lineman Kendrick Green was traded to the Texans for a future sixth-round draft choice in 2025. Green struggled mightily during his first two seasons in Pittsburgh (both as a guard and as a center) and was not expected to be part of the future plans.

After former GM Kevin Colbert passed on players like Creed Humphrey and Quinn Meinerz multiple times, he opted to select Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Illinois product wasn't on anybody's radar at this point.

Green quickly proved that he didn't belong, and after riding the bench as a reserve player in his second season in 2022, the team wanted to wash their hands of Colbert's draft mistake.

Steelers effectively swapped Kendrick Green for Justin Fields

At the time of the trade, a 2025 sixth-round pick seemed too distant (with very little promise of reward). However, the Steelers would see the fruits of this trade much sooner than fans anticipated, and the potential payout could be better than anything we expected.

This forgotten 2025 sixth-round pick acquired from the Houston Texas in the Kendrick Green trade is the very selection that the Steelers plan to send to Chicago in exchange for quarterback Justin Fields.

There is one stipulation to this. The compensation that Pittsburgh will send the Bears is conditional, and it could turn into Pittsburgh's fourth-round pick if Fields plays at least 51 percent of the offensive snaps for the Steelers in 2021.

Since becoming the Steelers' general manager, Omar Khan has been among the most active in the league when it comes to trades. Some of his other moves since taking over as GM after the 2022 NFL Draft include trading Chase Claypool, trading Kevin Dotson, trading for Allen Robinson, trading Diontae Johnson, trading Kenny Pickett, and now trading for Justin Fields.

When you put the Kendrick Green trade into perspective nearly two years later, the Texans received a reserve offensive lineman who had not played well when he was forced to see the field, while the Steelers received an uber-talented quarterback and former 11th overall pick who has a chance to be the starting QB in Pittsburgh at some point.

There's no guarantee that Fields is going to turn out to be the next great quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but every fan should be ecstatic that this team found a way to turn Kendrick Green into Justin Fields thanks to the 'art of the swap'.