Steelers could trade for Courtland Sutton during the NFL Draft

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
New England Patriots v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have tried to pull a fast one on us, but it didn't go unnoticed. Just one day before the start of the 2024 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh's front office restructured the contract of Alex Highsmith.

This move cleared up $7 million in salary cap space for the 2024 season -- converting base salary into a signing bonus. But was the extra breathing room necessary?

It is if the Steelers are fixing to trade for a wide receiver during the draft.

Prior to Highsmith's contract restructure, the Steelers already had $11.1 million in salary cap space to work with. This was more than enough to sign their rookie class. The timing of the restructuring makes this move most peculiar and leaves fans to believe that Pittsburgh is keeping its trade options open during the 2024 NFL Draft.

Steelers could trade for Courtland Sutton

49ers star receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, has been at the center of trade talks involving the Pittsburgh Steelers. But there's another wide receiver who might make more sense for their current situation.

Rumors are swirling that Pittsburgh could be open to trading for Broncos veteran wide receiver, Courtland Sutton. Denver has been dumping big contracts (like Russell Wilson) and they could do the same with Sutton who has a cap number of nearly $17.4 million for the 2024 season. This number goes up to $17.8 million in 2025.

The Broncos are looking to hit the 'reset' button, and Sutton turns 29 years old this offseason, so moving on could make sense for Denver.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have a glaring hole at wide receiver across from George Pickens, and Sutton -- a savvy veteran with size and production -- could be a nice complement as Pittsburgh's WR2.

Because of his lofty salary cap number, a trade wasn't possible without a preemptive move or two on the part of the Steelers. Pittsburgh would need to have the cap space for Sutton's contract, and prior to Alex Highsmith's contact restructure, this wasn't possible.

Though the Steelers may have planned to restructure Highsmith's deal all along to give themselves some breathing room, it's hard not to speculate that they have been in trade talks for a wide receiver. Don't be surprised if they pull the trigger on a trade for a player like Courtland Sutton during the 2024 NFL Draft.

All contract and salary cap figures courtesy of Over the Cap.