2021 Offseason Questions: At What Price Is James Washington Worth Trading?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: At what price is James Washington worth trading?

There are two essential ingredients to any player’s trade request to actually get completed. One, you need the team to be willing to trade the player for a certain price. And two, you need a team willing to pay the price being sought as a minimum requirement.

There are some exceptions where your hand is being forced, like Antonio Brown. But there is a price for players, whether they want to be moved or not. A fifth-round pick was enough for the Steelers to move Joshua Dobbs. A third-rounder worked for Martavis Bryant.

Now that we know—apparently—that James Washington would like to be traded to a team where he would get more playing time, at what price point would (or should) the Steelers be willing to move him? It’s rare to be able to get more than a fifth-round pick for a non-starter with one year on his deal (the price they paid for, for example, Chris Wormley and Nick Vannett, and fans groaned about both of them), but how many people would be comfortable losing Washington for a fifth rounder?

Washington doesn’t seem like the type of person who would even be willing to try to be a malcontent within the locker room even if he thought it was in his best interests for his career in helping to motivate the Steelers to move him. In other words, I don’t think the team is being forced to act, at least not yet. But should they be offered a fourth-round pick six weeks from now when a team loses a wide receiver…do you pull that trigger? It will have to depend on what they see from the young wide receivers in camp, as well.

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