Steelers should be on the phone with Titans after latest Malik Willis rumor

Steelers, Malik Willis
Steelers, Malik Willis / George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

After just one season with the Titans, Malik Willis could be on his way out of Tennessee. Prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers were heavily connected to Willis and the team had multiple visits with the former Liberty quarterback, including a dinner meeting at his Pro Day.

Now it looks like his time could already be coming to an end with his new NFL team. In the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft this past April, the Titans traded up to land Kentucky quarterback, Will Levis. This gives Tennessee a crowded QB room, and Willis could be the odd man out.

Fox Sports reporter, Ben Arthur, claims that Willis may be in danger of not making the 53-man roster. Historically, the Titans have only kept two quarterbacks on their roster (barring injuries), and with Ryan Tannehill and Levis now above him, Willis may not make the squad this year.

It is worth mentioning that the NFL has a new rule in place that makes it so a third quarterback can be active on gameday without taking up an additional spot, but this might not be something the Titans are interested in after watching Willis struggle as a rookie.

The rumors surrounding Malik Willis should have the wheels spinning for Omar Khan in the Steelers' front office. This is a player that Pittsburgh showed a good deal of interest in during the pre-draft process in 2022, and he could be just what they need to round out their roster.

Malik Willis could be the ideal QB3 for Steelers

Don't misconstrue this. There's no chance that Pittsburgh would consider trading for Malik Willis with the idea that he's going to push Kenny Pickett for the starting job. That isn't going to happen. However, it makes a ton of sense to try to flip a late-round pick for an athletic, developmental quarterback like Willis.

For starters, Willis still has three years left on the rookie contract he signed last spring. Considering that he was a former third-round draft choice, the price is right. His deal would cost Pittsburgh between just $807 thousand and $1.1 million per year over the next three seasons, via Over the Cap (with as much as a $308k roster bonus in 2025). Considering what backup quarterbacks go for on the market, this is an excellent deal.

Additionally, the Steelers currently don't have a viable depth option outside of Mitch Trubisky. Tanner Morgan is the only other quarterback signed to the 90-man summer roster at this point in time. Morgan lacks the size, traits, and athleticism to be anything more than a camp body, and his unspectacular tape at Minnesota would suggest the same.

On top of this, we don't know what the future holds for the QB2 job in Pittsburgh. Trubisky is only under contract for the 2023 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. If the Steelers traded for Willis and he shows good improvement in his second NFL season, he could become Pittsburgh's QB2 in 2024. This would save the team a ton of money compared to what their competitors are paying at the backup quarterback position.

dark. Next. Early 53-man roster predictions for Steelers after the NFL Draft

Obviously, if the Titans truly are willing to give up on Malik Willis this early, it could be because they just didn't see any development in his game and they think he's never going to get it. This could very well prove to be the case. But if Willis really is in jeopardy of not making the final roster, it would be a very low-risk move to trade a late-round draft choice for the athletic quarterback and see if he can stick around on the roster.