GMs Eyeing Steelers' Diontae Johnson for Pre-Free Agency Trade

Pittsburgh Steelers poised for strategic roster moves amid changes

by Zain ul Abedin
GMs Eyeing Steelers' Diontae Johnson for Pre-Free Agency Trade
© Justin Casterline/Getty Images

As the Pittsburgh Steelers navigate the complexities of the 2024 free agency and the forthcoming league year, their wide receiver roster appears increasingly slender. The situation was further exacerbated on Friday when the team announced the release of seasoned player Allen Robinson II, attributing the decision to salary cap considerations.

This move leaves Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Calvin Austin III as the primary holdovers from the 2023 lineup. However, this assembly might soon dwindle even further as the organization is purportedly considering, and has indeed garnered interest in, the potential trade of Johnson for an appropriate offer.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic brought to light on Saturday morning the possibility of Johnson being on the trading block. She emphasized that the Steelers would demand substantial draft picks in exchange for the skilled route runner, acknowledging his critical role.

Johnson's departure could significantly impact the team's depth, relegating Pickens and Austin as the sole dependable wide receivers. Selected in the third round of the 2019 draft by the Steelers, Johnson has emerged as a standout receiver for the team.

Despite his accomplishments, it appears the Steelers are contemplating a strategic shift in their receiver lineup, possibly prompted by a rich draft class eyed by General Manager Omar Khan.

Johnson Trade Dynamics

With a $3 million roster bonus for Johnson due on March 16th, any potential trade would need to be executed promptly.

Over his five-season tenure, Johnson's impressive stats include 391 receptions, 4,363 yards, and 25 touchdowns, making him an attractive asset for teams in need of a top-tier receiver. The Steelers' readiness to negotiate Johnson's trade reflects broader offensive challenges.

Beyond receiver depth, Pittsburgh's agenda includes bolstering the center and right tackle positions, and possibly even quarterback. Given the team's proficiency in drafting receivers, securing a day two pick for Johnson could align with strategic roster revitalization.

Notable teams, such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, stand out as potential suitors for Johnson's expertise. In sum, the Steelers are at a pivotal juncture, with significant offensive restructuring on the horizon.

As they weigh their options, the prospect of trading Johnson looms as a testament to the team's adaptability and forward-thinking approach in an ever-competitive NFL landscape.

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