The NFL’s trade deadline is set to be reached in just a couple of hours from now. This has pretty much always been meaningless to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and though it shouldn’t come to you as any sort of surprise, Head Coach Mike Tomlin in so many words just told everybody not to get their hopes up about that changing this year.
During his pre-game press conference ahead of Sunday’s big game against the Baltimore Ravens, he was asked toward the end about whether or not he expected there to be any movement on the trade front for the Steelers.
“I hadn’t thought a lot about it, to be honest with you”, he said. And if he hasn’t even been thinking about it, that is a pretty good indication that the team is not looking to make any trades. “I’m sure the phone may ring, we’ll see what happens. But more than anything, I’ve just been focusing on preparing for Baltimore”.
Of course, the Steelers were not looking to trade Martavis Bryant, either, until they ultimately pulled the trigger when the Oakland Raiders offered them a third-round draft pick on the first day of the 2018 NFL Draft.
But it’s highly unlikely that there are any movable commodities the team possesses on the roster right now that another team would be anteing up for. The only valuable piece that they control who could be regarded as expendable is Le’Veon Bell, and he’s not even currently under contract, so literally cannot be traded.
One of the reasons Pittsburgh is so reluctant to move is because it usually means giving up their most coveted resource, which is draft picks. “We believe in homegrown talent”, Tomlin said. “We invest time and resources into development of players, players buy into what we’re selling and work their tails off to improve and be reasons why we’re successful. I think it’s difficult to walk away from relationships when people are invested. We’re invested, the players are invested, it is what it is”.
They have gotten around this a bit in recent years by swapping draft picks. For example, when they acquired Vance McDonald, they gave up a fourth-round pick, but got a fifth back. Ryan Switzer also came back with a lower-round draft pick.
Steelers fans have been clamoring for the team to make a move this year—as they do every year—this time for a cornerback, as Artie Burns continues to struggle more than ever in his third season. Patrick Peterson was the name for a while until he stated that he would rescind his request to be traded.
Other names that have more recently popped up include veteran Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, who is an inside cornerback rather than a boundary defender. Over two thirds of his snaps have come in the slot this season alone. The Broncos did just trade wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, though, so at least that is a team willing to deal.
Another name that has been linked to Pittsburgh is Janoris Jenkins of the New York Giants, but the source of that connections was a Giants beat writer who seemed merely to be speculating. Jenkins has a very high salary as well.