May 30, 2024

The Pittsburgh Steelers put themselves in the AFC North title race with a 4-2 start.

Mike Tomlin’s team is on a two-game winning streak and it plays its next three games at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers.

Pittsburgh could end that stretch at 7-2 and with a chance to make a push for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

The Steelers should seize this opportunity to make one or two improvements through the trade market.

Pittsburgh’s trade focus should be on defense. The Steelers give up the 12th-most total yards in the NFL.

The offense appears to be in good shape after Diontae Johnson’s return, so the focus should be on adding pieces on defense to make the team look more like a playoff contender than it already does.

Azeez Al-Shaair
1 OF 3
CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 24: Azeez Al-Shaair #2 of the Tennessee Titans tackles Jerome Ford #34 of the Cleveland Browns during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images
The Tennessee Titans should be the team that every potential contender looks to do a deal with before the trade deadline.

Tennessee made its first move earlier this week, as it shipped Kevin Byard to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Pittsburgh could see a few of Tennessee’s impending free agents as good fits on its defense.

Azeez Al-Shaair, the Titans’ leading tackler, could help improve a Steelers rushing defense that gives up the 10th-most yards in the NFL.

Pittsburgh allowed over 100 rushing yards to five of its six opponents. Al-Shaair would help the Steelers decrease those totals with his play in the middle.

The Steelers may not have to give up much in return for the impending free agent, and if they can’t land Al-Shaair, they should to another piece of the Titans defense.

Denico Autry
2 OF 3
CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 24: Denico Autry #96 of the Tennessee Titans rushes against Dawand Jones #79 of the Cleveland Browns during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images
A team can’t be hurt by having too many pass rushers.

The Steelers could look to the first layer of the Tennessee defense to land support for T.J. Watt.

Denico Autry leads the Titans with four sacks and he is also a free agent at the end of the season.

No Pittsburgh player besides Watt has more than two sacks through six games this season.

The potential addition of Autry would not take away from Watt’s sack potential, and in fact, it may help boost that total because opposing offensive lines would have to guard against another strong edge-rusher.

Brian Burns
3 OF 3
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 18: Brian Burns #0 of the Carolina Panthers warms up prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
A pass-rushing duo of Watt and Brian Burns would wreak havoc on every opponent left on the Steelers’ schedule.

That is the dream duo the Steelers can build through the trade market.

Burns should be one of the most coveted players on the market because of the impact he can make off the edge. He has four sacks in 2023 and 42 in his career.

Burns has never had less than 7.5 sacks in a single season. He had at least nine takedowns in the last three campaigns.

The Steelers would likely have to compete with a handful of other teams for Burns, so that could mean sending multiple draft picks to Carolina.

Any price would be worth it for the Steelers, who could build a dominant pass-rushing duo that helps them hold opponents to low point totals every week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *