Last year at the NFL trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to ship Chase Claypool to the Bears for a second-round pick. This time around, there was more than enough reason to believe that the front office would be active at the deadline.
Before the season, general manager Omar Khan traded for WR Allen Robinson II before shopping offensive guards Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green and turning their backups into draft capital. With a gaping hole at the cornerback position opposite of rookie Joey Porter Jr., it certainly seemed like there was a great chance Khan would execute a deal for a CB just before the deadline. However, the clock struck 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and Pittsburgh will move forward with their current roster.
The report suggests that there was genuine interest from multiple teams, and the Steelers were one of them. In the end, no trade agreement could be reached and Johnson will be staying in Chicago for the remainder of the year. The two sides will likely continue to work toward a contract extension.
As of now, there is still no confirmation on what the Steelers offered Chicago. Some speculated that it could have been as much as a second-round pick. This could have been the IOU that Pittsburgh owes Chicago for fleecing them in the Claypool trade exactly a year ago.
Steelers tried to beef up the CB position, but to no avail
It's not surprising to see that the Steelers had a legitimate interest in getting something done for a standout cornerback. Early in the season, the combination of Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace covering the boundaries couldn't have been more disappointing. While Joey Porter Jr. certainly looks the part, the defense needs to find an option opposite of him.
Options will be limited at this point, as the free agent pool is pretty dry. The Steelers won't be able to entertain trades again until next offseason, but that won't help them for the rest of 2023.
It's worth noting that Pittsburgh did poach rookie cornerback Darius Rush from Kansas City's practice squad. Perhaps he gets a shot to show what he can do on defense at some point this season. If not for the ACL tear to rookie CB Cory Trice Jr. back in training camp, he might have been given a look next to Porter in the secondary at this point.
For now, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to weather the storm with the roster they have. Will it be enough for a deep playoff run? Probably not. But at least they didn't have to part with valuable draft capital. Now it's time to see if this team can make the necessary improvements in-house.