Proposed trades from anyone outside of a facility can often be silly, meaningless and completely miss the point, but others…sometimes they make sense and really make people think. Then there are some that are just very…meh.
On Saturday, Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay released a piece detailing five trades he’d like to see happen by midseason, and unsurprisingly the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver James Washington were featured in the list of five potential trades.
Washington allegedly requested a trade during training camp, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, before the Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac shut that story down, stating Washington didn’t request a trade. However, Washington was later asked about it and said it was a private conversation, which leads me to believe he, in fact, did make it known he’d like an opportunity elsewhere, though the Steelers weren’t — and aren’t — going to grant that request.
The fourth-year receiver is far too important to the depth of arguably the Steelers’ biggest strength, which is the wide receivers room. Already this season we’ve seen some depth tested and scares sent through Steeler Nation as Chase Claypool went down with an injury in training camp, and Diontae Johnson left the game in Week 1 with a knee injury before returning.
That said, Kay believes the Green Bay Packers are a great trade partner fit for the Steelers and Washington, suggesting Green Bay send a 2022 fifth-round draft pick to Pittsburgh for the receiver, who will be a free agent following the 2021 season. The fifth-round draft pick would give the Steelers some added capital on the third day of the 2022 NFL draft, though it would hinder the Steelers’ depth in the short term.
Green Bay would be an ideal place to ply his trade. The Packers have few proven wide receivers behind Davante Adams, which was evident in a disastrous season-opening loss to the Saints,” Kay writes. “Green Bay needs to shake up the receiving corps and bring in a speedy deep threat like Washington to pair with Adams. The 5’11”, 213-pound WR could stretch the field and add another dimension to an offense that struggled to start the year. It shouldn’t take much to pry Washington from Pittsburgh. The Packers hold their fifth-round selection in next year’s draft. Offering that to the Steelers might get this deal done.”
While it won’t take much to get Washington away from the Steelers at face value, general manager Kevin Colbert and the Steelers simply aren’t trading him, especially for a Day 3 draft pick at this point in the season. It certainly makes sense for the Steelers to try and replenish some of the lost draft capital ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, considering the changes the team is likely to undergo after the 2021 season, but in a season in which the Steelers appear to be all-in on, they’re not going to just trade from an area of strength to address future years. It’s just not how they operate.