One of the last big moves the Steelers will make this offseason unraveled on Sunday. Former starting guard Kevin Dotson was traded to the Rams ahead of cut-down day. Pittsburgh sent Dotson, a 2024 fifth-round pick, and a 2025 sixth-round pick, in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round and 2025 fifth-round pick.
By all accounts, this is a good trade for the Steelers. The writing was on the wall for Dotson early in the offseason. The Steelers have made a considerable effort to improve this line over the past two seasons, and as a result, Dotson was no longer pegged to start despite being the primary starter at guard for the past two seasons.
James Daniels was the prize free agent a season ago and Pittsburgh signed Isaac Seumalo this year. With two new and highly-paid guards, Dotson went from starter to backup quickly. Add in the addition of interior depth in Nate Herbig, and Dotson was, at best, going to be an overpaid third-string guard.
Dotson and the Steelers needed to breakup
Dotson made it clear early on that he had no desire to compete for a job now that he wasn’t the starter. Compare that to fellow lineman Dan Moore, who openly acknowledged the competition and played some of his best football. Yes, the scenario is different (a rookie isn’t locked into a starting role, the free agents were), but it was still a poor comment.
Dotson is set to receive a higher salary due to his playing time, so it was hard to justify keeping him at his current pay rate. Thus, the focus needs to be on the compensation. Two pick swaps aren’t a lot on paper, and when you add it all together, it seems fine for a player like Dotson.
Of the recent trades that involved a guard, Shaq Mason has been traded in back-to-back offseasons for late picks. This is less due to his play, but more due to his salary (he is overpaid all things considered). Another, more fairer comparison, is Cody Ford. While a player with more pedigree, he has similar inconsistencies in his game. He was dealt for a fifth-round pick.
The swap of picks seems worth it considering what the going rate for a guard is. For those crying about a compensatory pick, getting value upfront makes more sense. Had Dotson remained with the Steelers and not played much, he wouldn’t have been in line for a big deal. Even if it was enough to qualify for a pick, any signing the Steelers would make would negate that value.
Overall, this was a strong trade for the Steelers. Pittsburgh got fair value for a player that wasn’t going to offer them anything this year. You have to be happy with the pair of pick-swaps for a guard of Dotson’s caliber.