Over the past several years, we have seen some remarkably bold trades by the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of the best moves that Kevin Colbert made late in his tenure as general manager was stealing Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins early in the 2019 season. Minkah has already gone on to earn three First-Team All-Pro honors and has helped Pittsburgh's defense to become one of the top units in the league in 2019 and 2020.
A few years later, it was Omar Khan's time to pull off a memorable trade. In the waning hours of the 2022 trade deadline, Khan suckered the Chicago Bears into trading for WR Chase Claypool. In return, the Steelers received their original second-round pick -- which became the 32nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and was used to select Joey Porter Jr.
Now, as the Steelers kick their feet back during the bye week, we reflect on how the first five games have gone so far. Statistically, Pittsburgh has one of the league's worst offenses, and they have been exposed through the air on defense. So far, there are a few glaring positions of need to point to.
We have seen in the past how just one key acquisition can help turn a franchise around. Even with their sluggish start, the Steelers still sit on a 3-2 record. If the season ended today, they would be hosting a game in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
The Steelers might be in play for another uber-aggressive trade to bolster their roster just before the NFL trade deadline on Halloween. This might be a bit of a stretch, but this Steelers dream trade could instantly make Pittsburgh a competitor.
Steelers should trade for CB Pat Surtain II
The Denver Broncos are in complete disarray. During the 2022 offseason, this AFC team -- desperate for a spark -- mortgaged their future to trade for former Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Russell Wilson. So far, the move has been an utter disaster.
Following their most recent loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, the Broncos are a trainwreck with zero hope of being relevant this season. Their 1-5 record suggests that their team could be open to trading assets in an effort to stockpile draft capital for the future.
One of the most valuable assets on their team is cornerback Pat Surtain II. The son of former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback, Patrick Surtain, Pat proved to be one of the best defensive backs in the NFL during the 2022 season.
This year, Surtain hasn't been quite as dominant, but that could very well be due to the team falling apart around him. Surtain is in his third NFL season, which means the Broncos must begin contract negotiations with him as early as the 2024 offseason. Unfortunately for them, Denver currently sits over $12 million over the cap for next year, according to Over the Cap.
What would it cost to trade for Pat Surtain II?
This is one reason why the Broncos could be willing to part with their young All-Pro cornerback. The other reason could be due to the draft capital they could acquire. Despite the fact that Surtain needs a new contract, the impressive CB would still fetch a pretty penny if Denver was willing to deal him -- perhaps a first-rounder and then some.
This seems like an awfully steep investment, but the Steelers could be confident that they are getting one of the best players in the league at the cornerback position. Early in the 2023 season, rookie Joey Porter Jr. has played well in limited action, and he could be thrust into a full-time role soon.
How Pat Surtain II trade could vault Steelers to contender status
But even if that's the case, the Steelers are still desperate for another great option at the position. Both Levi Wallace and Patrick Peterson have been awful so far in 2023, while nickel cornerback, Chandon Sullivan, has proven that he can't be trusted on the field.
Pat Surtain II and Joey Porter Jr. would make a lethal pairing of second-generation NFL defenders whose fathers were both among the best in the business. This long, athletic CB tandem could lock wide receivers down in Pittsburgh for a long time.
Of course, a trade of this magnitude still wouldn't solve the glaring issues on the offensive side of the football. The Steelers still have major question marks at positions like center, offensive tackle, and even quarterback.
Still, trading for another blue-chip defender could help Pittsburgh's defense once again rise to one of the best units in the league. This could potentially be enough to make a playoff push (assuming their young offense can make some improvements down the stretch). The Broncos may be unwilling to part with arguably their greatest asset on the team, but landing Pat Surtain II would be a dream trade for Steelers fans.