The NFL trade deadline is coming up, and while it has historically been a quieter event than some other sports deadlines, the Steelers were players a year ago. While they did bring in William Jackson at the deadline, the more notable deal was getting rid of Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh acquired the Bears' second-round pick, used it to select Joey Porter Jr., and the rest is history.
All hail Omar Khan.
There is no guarantee that the Steelers will be active players at the deadline this year. More often than not, they are usually acquiring players, not dealing them away, but rumors have already begun swirling of who could be on the move this year. Cory Woodroof went so far as to say that the Steelers should trade Najee Harris for a second-round pick to a contending team.
There has been a general outcry against that notion for the most part. There is a logical reason for that, as a 3-2 team trading away players doesn’t bode well for a potential playoff push. That said if this team has accepted the fact that this year won’t be their year, trading away players makes sense.
The Steelers would be fools to turn down this offer from a team
Throw logic out for a second and assess what Woodroof was recommending. If a team offered Pittsburgh a second-round pick for Harris, they would be fools to not take it. This goes beyond the idea of competing this year or not, as a second-round pick is beyond fair value for Harris.
Running backs are one of the most devalued positions in the league, and while Harris is having a fine season, he hasn’t been a difference-maker yet. A lot of this isn’t his fault. He lacks a great game plan or line to consistently produce, and his lack of speed limits his ability to produce on his own.
If a team was willing to give the Steelers a second-round pick in exchange for him, they would be wise to complete that deal. Even if a turnaround happens after the bye week, this team isn’t built to compete against elite teams. A playoff appearance is possible, but running the gauntlet with this offense will likely make any postseason berth short-lived. Even if this team doesn't embrace the tank, the move would still make sense.
The Steelers could turn to Jaylen Warren as their feature back, and while lacking two talented backs will be noticed, it likely won’t matter this season much. Harris is also going to be a declining asset sooner rather than later. He was older and had more usage entering the league and will need a new contract within the next couple of seasons.
A team trading for him now gets the rest of this season and next on his rookie deal with the option to give him his fifth-year option. As that rookie contract runs his course, teams will be less willing to want Harris, as big second contracts haven’t panned out in recent years.
A second-round pick will turn into a likely key contributor next season, and hopefully at a position with more value. The running back room will rebound, as the team could add a plethora of free agents and rookies to work behind Warren. If a team offered the Steelers a second-round pick for Harris, they would be fools not to accept that deal.