While it has yet to be made official by the Pittsburgh Steelers, several reports are now indicating that they have acquired wide receiver Ryan Switzer from the Oakland Raiders via a trade. If it happens, that transaction will have a lot of fallout associated with it.
For starters, the addition of Switzer would mean no more punt returns for wide receiver Antonio Brown and that will likely make quite a few people happy. During his college career at North Carolina, Switzer returned 99 punts for 1,082 yards and 7 touchdowns. Additionally, during his 2017 rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys he returned 29 punts for 256 yards and a touchdown. This also means that second-year cornerback Cameron Sutton won’t be the Steelers punt returner, either. He fumbled a punt return opportunity against the Titans on Saturday.
While Switzer only returned a few kickoffs during his college career, he returned 24 of them for 600 yards during his rookie season with the Cowboys. With that experience, there’s a good chance he handles those duties in Pittsburgh which would mean that running back Fitzgerald Toussaint won’t. Toussaint wasn’t a lock to make this year’s 53-man roster prior to Switzer being acquired and now his prospects of staying around past Saturday have lessened.
Switzer’s arrival in Pittsburgh also likely means that two of the team’s younger wide receivers, Marcus Tucker and Damoun Patterson, aren’t likely to make the 53-man roster this year. Tucker suffered an ankle injury during the team’s third preseason game while Patterson failed to catch a pass in that game. One of the two is still likely to land on the Steelers practice squad and it might just wind up being Patterson.
With Switzer being best-suited to play in the slot, he figures to be the backup at that position moving forward into the regular season. After catching 244 passes for 2,912 yards and 19 touchdowns during his college career, Switzer caught just 6 passes for 41 yards during his rookie season with the Cowboys.
With Switzer now in Pittsburgh, Steelers rehabbing wide receiver Eli Rogers might just remain on the team’s PUP list longer than the first six weeks of the regular season. Rogers, who will already serve a one-game suspension to start the regular season, is still rehabbing from offseason knee surgery as he’s been on the team’s Active PUP list since being re-signed when the team reported to Latrobe for the start of training camp.
The Steelers are now looking like they will indeed carry six wide receivers this year with that group consisting of Brown, Switzer, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey.