NFL TRADE: Steelers land projected $96 million star WR in….

Steelers land projected $96 million star WR in proposed blockbuster deal.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to fill the void at wide receiver the team created in the Diontae Johnson–Donte Jackson swap. But Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport named Pittsburgh one of six teams that should make an enticing trade offer to the San Francisco 49ers for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Davenport proposed the Steelers send their 2024 first and third-round selections to the 49ers for the 2023 second-team All-Pro wideout.

“Aiyuk is a better and more proven option than anyone who will be on the board when pick No. 20 rolls around,” Davenport wrote. “He and George Pickens would be a formidable duo at the position.

“Where this hypothetical exercise is concerned at least, offering that 20th overall pick would be the best offer the 49ers have received. Throw in a late third (for a Day 3 pick in return), and it’s an offer Niners general manager John Lynch would have to give some serious consideration to.”

Other than George Pickens, the Steelers do not have a wide receiver signed on their 2024 roster who had more than 209 receiving yards last season. But Aiyuk would solve that issue and then some.

Aiyuk recorded career-highs of 1,342 receiving yards and 17.9 yards per reception in 2023. He also had 75 catches and 7 touchdowns.

Acquiring Aiyuk, though, wouldn’t just be costly from a draft capital perspective. Spotrac projected Aiyuk to be worth about $96.1 million on a 4-year contract. Such a deal would give the 26-year-old receiver an average annual salary north of $24 million.

Why the Steelers Could Use WR Brandon Aiyuk

It’s rather clear why the Steelers should be in the market for Aiyuk.

While the Steelers have signed Van Jefferson and added Quez Watkins since trading away Johnson, those two wideouts combined for only 351 receiving yards during 2023.

Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger argued on April 2 that even with Jefferson and Watkins, not only do the Steelers not have a starting receiver opposite Pickens, they don’t possess a No. 3 wideout either.

With Aiyuk, though, the Steelers would land one of the top receivers on the market this offseason. As Davenport noted, Aiyuk and Pickens would be a dynamic duo.

While Aiyuk averaged 17.9 yards per reception, Pickens led the NFL with 18.1 yards per catch in 2023.

The Drawbacks to Trading for Aiyuk

Aiyuk would transform the Steelers receiver room from one of the weakest in the NFL to perhaps one of the best. But it would come at a heavy cost.

In addition to needing a starting receiver, the Steelers don’t have a center currently on the roster. The team could also use upgrades at offensive tackle and cornerback.

If the Steelers trade their first and third-round picks for Aiyuk, then it will be significantly harder for them to draft impact players at their other needs. General manager Omar Khan would also very likely be giving up on selecting Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson or Duke’s Graham Barton. Pundits widely consider those two prospects the best centers available in the 2024 class.

Khan could turn his attention to West Virginia center Zach Frazier. But Frazier may not still be on the draft board either when the Steelers select in the second round at No. 51 overall.

The lack of immediate other starting center options in the draft and the thin center market left in free agency makes it a little hard to envision the Steelers trading two top picks for Aiyuk.

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