With not a lot of activity going on in the week leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers captured some cheap headlines yesterday. They are reportedly set to acquire wide receiver Allen Robinson via trade from the Los Angeles Rams. Not only has the move itself become the subject of conversation, so too has the compensation.
The Rams were largely looking to move on and to dump his salary, and in turn have agreed to foot half of his remaining $10 million salary for 2023 after having already paid him more than $5 million in March as a roster bonus. All the Steelers had to send their way was a seventh-round pick, and they’re getting one back, slightly later.
It’s gotten so many talking that even former Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson weighed in, approving of the move, though it will not be official until he takes a physical and passes it and until the paperwork is approved by the league.
“Mike T wins again”, he tweeted following the news of the trade, referencing Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, before emphasizing his belief in the quality of Pittsburgh’s wide receiving corps. “Tay [Diontae] Johnson, [George] Pickens, Robinson? Yeah nope they not on yo schedule better have some hittas at db”.
Johnson, a Pro Bowler in 2021, has been the Steelers’ top wide receiver for the past few seasons. Pickens was drafted in the second round last year and made several highlight-reel catches. Most believe he will be the Steelers’ number one receiver moving forward as he continues to flesh out his repertoire and become a more three-dimensional threat.
Robinson is a nine-year veteran coming off a couple of down years tied to injury and poor quarterback play but is a former Pro Bowler who has otherwise been a pretty consistent performer when healthy, even elevating teams beyond what their quarterback play would suggest.
With Robinson approaching 30 and the back end of his career, the Steelers know they are not getting the Pro Bowler from 2015 when he was just two years removed from his Penn State days, but he should be able to come in and provide a steady presence out of the slot, something they haven’t had in awhile due to health and personnel issues.
As for Nelson, he spent two seasons with the Steelers in 2019 and 2020, so he got a first-hand look at Johnson in the early portions of his career. He faced Robinson once in 2016 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, a game in which Robinson caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
In spite of the fact that Nelson got released two years into a three-year contract, he said that there was no ill will toward the organization, understanding the economics of the 2021 salary cap crunch that led to a number of prominent players getting cut around the league. He said that he wishes the Steelers the best, and this latest comment seems to echo those sentiments.