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Kinkhabwala: Diontae Johnson No More ‘Shoppable’ Via Trade After Allen Robinson Move

Whether reasonably or not, conversations about the theoretical possibility of the Pittsburgh Steelers trading wide receiver Diontae Johnson have risen back to the surface in recent days following news about the team trading for Allen Robinson.

In spite of the fact that the acquisition of the 30-year-old receiver is likely to be a one-year rental, it has driven the discussion fueled primarily by those who want the Steelers to trade Johnson. Andrew Fillipponi (responsible for fueling a damaging rumor about Johnson last year) and Chris Mueller on 93.7 The Fan have been leading that charge locally, posing the question to seemingly all of their guests.

That included Aditi Kinkhabwala on Thursday, who essentially said that there’s no reason to believe the Robinson move makes them any more likely to make a move.

I don’t see it as a one-for-one. And I also don’t think that if Diontae Johnson is not the one, then Allen Robinson is”, he said. “If Diontae Johnson is not the one, then George Pickens is. I don’t see that it says, ‘Okay, Diontae Johnson is now more shoppable’”.

It’s worth reminding that the Steelers just got Robinson for a swap of late-round picks and a $5 million base salary in 2023 as their only commitments, at least if the initial reports of the terms of the trade are to be believed. If that’s all the Los Angeles Rams got for Robinson, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers getting enough for Johnson that would be enticing for them to pull the trigger.

“Let’s not forget, it’s not as if Allen Robinson had the year last year—he’s not coming off of a game-breaking year”, Kinkhabwala said. “He’s not coming off of a WR1 year, where it’s simple to say, ‘Okay, well we’ve got one gamebreaker, we can get rid of another one’. I don’t think that’s what this is. This is shoring up your receiving corps, finding a talented player who’s available who’s not normally someone that you would consider a WR3 or a WR4”.

She also pointed out that, generally speaking, the best teams have two top receivers—and the ones who aren’t are looking for one. trading Johnson certainly brings the Steelers no closer to being great. He is only one year removed from a Pro Bowl season in which he caught 107 passes for 1161 yards and eight touchdowns.

A down year amid great change in the offensive structure is being used as a cudgel to decimate the perception of his capabilities. And as of this writing, the Steelers have all of $18 million remaining in currently unpaid commitments to Johnson over the next two years. He’s owed $8 million in base salary in 2023 and $7 million plus a $3 million roster bonus in 2024. That’s it. The rest is already paid.

So there’s the debate. $18 million for two years? $8 million for one year? Or comparatively marginal cap savings combined over the next two years for whatever draft compensation they can get via trade—which won’t be anything like the Chase Claypool trade.

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