The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting at the bottom of the division through the first quarter pole of the 2018 season, tied with a 1-2-1 record that they share with the Cleveland Browns, a team that only just recently won its first game in over a year.
That is far from the optimal place to be, and teams with high aspirations that fall short of them tend to be the teams that are most likely to make moves designed to improve their team in the short-term. The Steelers are also in a unique position with one of their greatest resources withholding his services.
With a quarter of the season out of the way, Pro Football Focus took it upon itself to conjure up trade scenarios for all 32 teams, and two of the proposed trades involve the Steelers. I’m sure you can guess where this is going.
One of the trades the site would like to see is the Steelers sending Le’Veon Bell—after he signs his franchise tender, of course—to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they believe a second-round pick could be had for his services, arguing that they have used such picks on Roberto Aguayo and Ronald Jones in the past, so “Bell even for a half a season at that price is worth it, given the track record of ‘second-round selections’ from Tampa of late”.
Two things should be noted on that front. For one, the Steelers are reportedly seeking a second-round pick and a ‘good player’ in terms of compensation for Bell. It’s highly unlikely that they can get that as a rental service, but perhaps one or the other is not impossible. Former general manager Joe Banner suggested that a second-round pick is not an unreasonable asking price.
As for the Steelers’ trade, PFF thinks that they should look to add pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, a Dave Bryan favorite, in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Barrett played under outside linebackers coach Joey Porter at Colorado State and was an undrafted free agent in 2014.
“After the Broncos drafted Bradley Chubb, Barrett fell to fourth on their outside linebacker depth chart, and his playing time has decreased to less than 30 percent of the Broncos’ defensive snaps”, the site writes. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree currently have the most and second-most snaps, respectively, for 3-4 outside linebackers, and they could use a third to form a rotation”.
Now, they do have a third in that rotation, that being Anthony Chickillo, who has gotten about 10 or so snaps per game, on average. They will also eventually have Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, provided that they choose to activate him when the time comes.
Barrett, however, is a bit more of a known commodity. Never a full-time starter, he has 12 sacks in his four-plus seasons, including one this year. He also has seven forced fumbles.