Steelers were wise to pass on free agent WR Tyler Boyd

Omar Khan didn't miss out; Tyler Boyd wasn't the receiver this team needed.
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

When news broke that Tyler Boyd was signing with the Tennessee Titans, Steelers fans thought that Omar Khan had blown a big opportunity. Boyd inked a new one-year deal with Tennessee for just $4.5 million. While the price was right to sign an experienced veteran receiver, his fit with Pittsburgh would not have been.

There's no question that the Steelers need to add another wide receiver. Even if Roman Wilson plays a big role as a rookie in 2024, that only gives Pittsburgh one receiver not named George Pickens they can count on.

So why not Tyler Boyd?

I don't doubt that Boyd is better than most of the receiving options on the Steelers roster, but a move for Boyd wouldn't have made much sense before the NFL Draft, and it would have made even less sense afterward.

Tyler Boyd isn't the type of WR the Steelers need

Boyd is a slot receiver by trade. Last year, the veteran logged 672 snaps from the slot and just 151 out wide. Pittsburgh already has a trio of slot receivers in Roman Wilson, Calvin Austin III, and Quez Watkins. Because of the redundancy that already exists at the position, neither Watkins nor Austin is guaranteed to make the 53-man roster.

Additionally, veteran Van Jefferson has inside-out versatility. He played 226 snaps from the slot in 2023 and 394 outside. Jefferson is coming off a down season, but he does much of his damage while manning slot duties.

Meanwhile, Boyd has been primarily a slot receiver his whole career, and that's not about to change as he enters Year 9 in the NFL.

Another reason it didn't make sense for the Steelers to sign a player like Tyler Boyd is because of the lack of explosive plays. Entering the NFL in 2016, Boyd ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and there's no question he has lost a step or two since then.

If the Steelers are to add a receiver, it needs to be a player who would be a notable upgrade on the outside next to George Pickens. Pittsburgh can only play so many slot WRs at one time, and Boyd averaged an unspectacular 6.8 yards per target and 10.0 yards per reception last season. Even his career average of 11.7 yards per reception is nothing to write home about.

I know that local Steelers fans have a soft spot for Tyler Boyd because he played his college ball at Pitt, but that was ages ago. Boyd turns 30 years old during the 2024 season and doesn't offer enough on the boundary as an explosive playmaker for Pittsburgh to have made a move for him in free agency. Omar Khan did the right thing by passing on Boyd.