The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Do the Steelers have any genuine intent to pursue a trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson?
Regardless of what one might think of the matter, the events of the past few days are quickly taking us toward the path on which Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson returns to the football field for the first time in over a year—for a team other than the Texans.
Watson was accused of sexual misconduct last year by 22 massage therapists. While their civil cases remain ongoing, it was determined in court yesterday that he would not face criminal charges—which is not to affirm that he is innocent.
It is widely anticipated that a number of teams will be willing to trade for Watson now that the threat of criminal charges has been dropped. The Seattle Seahawks are the team that seems to be gaining the most traction.
As you know, a report from Shaun King stated that Pittsburgh is Watson’s preferred destination in a potential trade. But we have no information stating that the Steelers themselves are actively contemplating a trade to bring in an extremely talented quarterback who is facing 22 separate civil cases of sexual misconduct, and for whom they would have to give up very substantial resources.
Last night, Kimberley A. Martin tweeted that the Steelers were among a list of teams who have either been interested in Watson for a while, or were monitoring his court date, but neither amounts to saying they will attempt to trade for him.
It makes all the sense in the world to try to make the move, from an on-field perspective. And if there were no legal or moral matters at play, I think it would go without saying that the Steelers would be in on pursuing this.
But it’s not that simple. There is that very serious issue of these 22 outstanding allegations, and as an organization, they must weigh whether or not they want to take that on, both with respect to public relations, as well as their own reputation and sense of integrity. It would certainly be controversial for any team that ultimately acquires him. Somebody will do it and accept those challenges. Is Pittsburgh one of the teams willing to do that?