Steelers News

James Washington Calls Rumors Of Trade Request A ‘Private Conversation’, Acknowledges His Role In Offense Has ‘Been Talked About’

Is there such a phenomenon as too much of a good thing? Well, it might depend upon your perspective. From the Pittsburgh Steelers’ point of view, there is no such thing as having too many talented wide receivers. The wide receivers, especially those on the bottom rung of the ladder, may see it differently.

Take James Washington, for example. Heading into his contract year, he has been relegated to fourth man on the depth chart, behind JuJu Smith-Schuster—re-signed as an unrestricted free agent this offseason—Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool.

Earlier in camp, it was reported that Washington approached the team about seeking a trade for him. Head coach Mike Tomlin denied that the receiver had approached him about wishing to be traded, or about being dissatisfied with his role in the offense (which the report cited as his reasoning for wanting to be traded).

Speaking to reporters for the first time today since that story broke, he was naturally asked about it, and would only say that it’s a private conversation, which many will naturally take to mean that, yes, it did come up, at least in some capacity.

“As far as me being happy in Pittsburgh, I love it here”, he added, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, via Twitter. “Who wouldn’t be happy playing football as their job? I come to work every day with a smile on my face”.

Washington has only recently returned to practice after missing some time with a mild lower body injury. With Chase Claypool out today nursing an ankle injury he suffered yesterday, that afforded him some more high-quality reps than he normally gets. “All I can keep doing is capitalizing on every rep”, he said.

The veteran also acknowledged that he has indeed had discussions with the coaching staff about his role within the offense, which is a delicate situation when you have four pedigreed and talented wide receivers in the mix. The Steelers have also added pass-catching skill players at running back and tight end through the high rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, as well.

Washington logged 484 snaps last season, a career-low, though not by a great deal, as a rookie Claypool quickly succeeded him as one of the top three receivers. He would still go on to catch 30 passes for 392 yards and a career-high five touchdowns.

But he is going to be a free agent in 2022, and frankly, if he doesn’t put up some numbers, he’s going to struggle to find much of a market. When Emmanuel Sanders back in 2013 found himself in a contract year, finally in position to start, he responded with a 67-catch, 740-yard, six-touchdown season. That earned him a three-year, $15 million deal with the Denver Broncos.

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