The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? How might they tackle the NFL draft? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Will the Steelers find a way to acquire more day-three draft selections?
While the Steelers did not make the trade many thought they would, moving down from the first selection in the second round, they finally did make a move down with their third-round draft pick, dropping back 13 spots and picking up a fourth-round selection in return.
That gets them back the fourth-round selection they traded on day one to move up three spots to draft tackle Broderick Jones. But even with that extra selection back on day three, they still have a more than 100-spot gap today. They hold only the newly acquired fourth-round pick and two seventh-round selections, the earlier of which is 241.
That makes it rather difficult to acquire much capital moving forward, but there are ways. The least complicated would be to trade back in the fourth round, now sitting at 132, which is the third-to-last selection in the round. They could, perhaps, get a fifth- and sixth-round pick out of it, but would that really be better? Well, that’s up to the scouts to say.
One thing they’ve done multiple times in the past is trade a future draft pick for a current pick, the market rate requiring one round higher on the future selection. They most recently traded a future fourth-round pick to move into the fifth round in 2021 to draft Isaiahh Loudermilk. Generally, the results of these trades, which also helped them acquire Devin Bush and Shamarko Thomas, have not exactly proven to be worth it, but all you need to do is pick the right player.
Speaking of players—there are some rostered commodities that they could be open to dealing that may help them acquire draft capital, or at least improve their current capital in pick swaps. Fans tend to overestimate such players’ value, but Kevin Dotson would be the most outstanding candidate off the top of my head. No, Mitch Trubisky isn’t going to be traded. No, Diontae Johnson isn’t going to be traded. No, nobody is going to trade for Zach Gentry. And no, they’re not trading James Daniels. And nobody wants Kendrick Green. Given that they still need quality depth, don’t expect Dan Moore Jr. or Chukwuma Okorafor to be on the table either.
If anybody were interested in Ahkello Witherspoon, the Steelers would have to eat a chunk of his salary, at which point you might as well keep the player and give him a chance to get right. After all, his salary isn’t guaranteed, so if he doesn’t, you just cut him. You don’t get a draft pick, but you also don’t have to carry any of his salary.