Steelers Rumors: Pittsburgh has looked into trade for Brandon Aiyuk

San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Diontae Johnson, they opened up a new can of worms. Not only did this team have major needs at center, cornerback, and offensive tackle, but we can now add wide receiver to the mix.

Because of this, NFL Draft analysts have been busy mocking wide receivers to Pittsburgh in the first round. It's not hard to see why. At the moment, George Pickens is the only quality option on the team, and the depth is arguably as bad as any team in the NFL. The Steelers will need a starting receiver to pair with him in 2024.

Pittsburgh's formal meetings at the NFL Combine suggest significant interest on their part. Omar Khan and company met with top receiver prospects like Rome Odunze, Adonai Mitchell, Brian Thomas, Keon Coleman, and Xavier Legette.

Since this team traded for QB Justin Fields, new Steelers trade rumors are swirling -- this time around the wide receiver position.

On March 19th, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan claims that sources tell him the Steelers have looked into trading for 49ers star receiver, Brandon Aiyuk.

Aiyuk played four years on his rookie contract and is about to play on the fifth-year option during the 2024 season. Because he is still under contract, the Steelers would have to execute a sign-and-trade deal -- similar to what the Kansas City Chiefs are open to doing with CB L'Jarius Sneed.

Steelers would be unwise to trade for Brandon Aiyuk

I thoroughly believe that Brandon Aiyuk is one of the best receivers in the NFL in today's game. Following the 2023 season, you can certainly make a case that he's a top-5 receiver in the league. Aiyuk earned a whopping 1,342 yards and 7 touchdowns on an outrageous 12.8 yards per target, per Pro Football Reference.

Despite being the most efficient receiver in the league on paper, this decision would be incredibly costly for the Steelers.

This is what we call the double gut punch. Not only would the Steelers need to trade their first-round pick for Aiyuk, but they would then need to turn around and make him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL.

After a phenomenal first four seasons in the league, Aiyuk's average annual earnings are likely to come in around the $30 million per year mark. While I can get behind this trade for a team in the right situation, the Steelers aren't close enough to being Super Bowl contenders at this point to make this trade worth their while.

The San Francisco 49ers could end up trading Brandon Aiyuk this offseason, but the cost is too great for the Pittsburgh Steelers to be buyers -- even with an enormous need at the wide receiver position.