Three Cost-Effective Free Agent Wide Receivers Pittsburgh Could Consider Signing This Offseason

The Pittsburgh Steelers head into 2023 having finished the 2022 season on a high note, winning seven of their last nine games after their bye week. The team finished with a 9-8 record after starting an abysmal 2-6, just nearly missing the playoffs due to a tiebreaker head by the Miami Dolphins.

However, Pittsburgh has several notable holes that they need to fill on the roster as well as improve their overall scoring offense. The finished 26th in the league in total points scored and particularly struggled in the passing game department, finishing 24th in the NFL in passing yards, 25th in net yards per passing attempt, and dead last in the league in passing TDs on the season with only 12 TDs.

Hopefully, those statistics improve with QB Kenny Pickett getting a full season and offseason under his belt, heading into Year Two in OC Matt Canada’s system. The growth of George Pickens and return of Calvin Austin III should also help the passing game, but after watching the likes of the Chiefs, Eagles, Bills, and other title contender light it up in the passing game this past season, Pittsburgh could stand to add more firepower around Pickett to enhance his play and present a more lethal passing attack. With free agency fast approaching here are three names that could interest the Steelers as potential cost-effective additions that could fill specific roles in their offensive system.

Mecole Hardman – Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Mecole Hardman out of Georgia in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, hoping to add another element of speed and explosive playmaking thanks to his 4.33 speed. In four seasons in KC, Hardman has flashed big-play ability, but has failed to become a consistent, well-rounded passing game option. Hardman has played in 57 regular season games with 26 starts and has caught 151 passes for 2,088 yards (13.8 YPR) and 16 TDs while running the ball 20 times for 125 yards and an additional two scores. He also has done well as a kick and punt returner, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2019 and had a punt and kick return TD on his resume.

Hardman only played in eight games in 2022 after being placed on IR due to an abdominal injury, holding him to 297 yards and four TDs on the season. With the Chiefs likely to retain JuJu Smith-Schuster and with Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in tow, Hardman will likely hit the open market. Pittsburg could use Hardman’s speed and burst in the screen game, WR end arounds, as well as a vertical threat and YAC specialist to spice up their passing attack. Coming off an injury-plagued season, Hardman could settle for a one-year deal to improve his stock to cash in next offseason.

Parris Campbell – Indianapolis Colts

The sentiment of adding speed and explosiveness to the offense with Hardman could be echoed with Paris Campbell of the Indianapolis Colts. Campbell is also a former second-round pick out of Ohio State and blazed a 4.31 40 at the Combine along with 40” vertical and a 4.03 20-yd shuttle. The drafted him to add a dynamic element to their passing attack, but injuries have plagued Campbell’s career to this point, playing in only 32 games with 24 starts in four regular seasons. Still, he played in all 17 games last season for the Colts, totaling a career high in catches (63), yards (623) and TDs (3).

Campbell is a natural fit in the slot, making him a great fit in Pittsburgh’s system with Diontae Johnson and George Pickens on the outside. Signing Campbell to a cheap 1-2 year deal would alleviate the pressure for Calvin Austin III to produce quickly in his first full season, providing a veteran presence at the position that also has the speed to make defenses pay over the middle and down the seam.

Jarvis Landry – New Orleans Saints

With slot receiver the main need in the receiver core, Pittsburgh could opt for an older, but more experienced veteran that can be a reliable passing game option as well as act as a mentor in a relatively young WR room. Jarvis Landry doesn’t have near the juice that Hardman or Campbell have and is also over 30-years-old, but the nine-year veteran has been one of the better slot receivers in the league for nearly the last decade. Landry in a five-time Pro Bowler and has caught 713 passes for 7,870 yards and 38 TDs in his career with the Dolphins, Browns, and Saints.

Landry had his worst statical season yet with New Orleans in 2022, catching only 25 passes for 272 yards and one TD. He noticeably has lost a step but can still be that experienced passing game option that can be a security blanket over the middle for Kenny Pickett. We have seen Pittsburgh target veteran receivers in the past including Jerricho Cotchery and Lance Moore to add leadership and experience to the room, and Landry would be a good culture guy to have around Pittsburgh’s younger receivers. He shouldn’t break the back given his age and drop in production, making him a potential savvy signing to improve the unit’s floor while also helping develop guys like Pickens and Austin.

What are your thoughts of the names listed? Do you see some of these veteran WRs being good fits for the Steelers in free agency? Do you see Pittsburgh targeting one of these players? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!

To Top