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Analyst Tabs Jonathan Allen as Potential Steelers Trade Target

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Pittsburgh Steelers Jonathan Allen

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward is heading into his final season of his contract, and with being 35 years old and some injury concerns, the end of the road seems to be coming sooner rather than later.

Justin Melo of The Draft Network tabbed the Steelers as a team that could benefit from acquiring Washington Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen through a trade. He thinks it would be wise for the Steelers to prepare for life after Heyward.

“Cameron Heyward has been the league’s most consistently dominant defensive tackle over the previous decade. He’s entering his age 35 season in 2024, and the final year of his contract. The Steelers should start thinking about a succession plan,” Melo wrote.

“Trading for Allen and pairing him with Heyward for a season isn’t the worst idea. It could even keep Heyward most effective as more of a rotational defender before Allen flawlessly steps into his full-time role in 2025. Keeping Russell Wilson’s contract to a one-year, $1.2 million agreement has given Pittsburgh maximum flexibility. General manager Omar Khan has a top-five amount of effective cap space heading into next offseason ($73.7 million) as well.”

Allen, 29, is a two-time Pro Bowler and has recorded 39.0 career sacks. Depending on the compensation, Allen wouldn’t be a bad piece to add with Heyward and Keeanu Benton on the defensive line.

As mentioned, Heyward has just one year left on his deal, and it’s a expensive figure for the Steelers to absorb. His cap hit will reach over $22 million (according to Over the Cap), but an extension could lower that.

However, another idea has been for him to take a pay cut. But Heyward sounds like he will not be doing that. On his Not Just Football Podcast, Heyward emphatically offered up his take on that.

“I bust my butt in rehab, doing everything,” Heyward said in January. “I got to let things calm down. Screw the people who keep talking about me getting a pay cut.”

After wild-card playoff loss t0 the Buffalo Bills and the following day, Heyward dove int0 his injury details, stating that he completely tore his adductor muscle off the bone, requiring surgery. He pushed a 12-week timeline to just seven weeks. It’s a remarkable recovery time, but Heyward was still banged-up for the rest of the season, and needs time to let his body heal after the season.

“In my heart, I want to play,” Heyward said. “But it’s been rough. I need to take the offseason to get healthy again. Battling back through a groin, it’s one thing to just walk off a groin, it’s another to play football. It’s definitely been a season. I just wanted to put my hand in the pile.”

Heyward said that in addition to the groin and core muscle surgeries, he also suffered another groin injury and had a knee issue that kept him from practicing fully throughout almost the entire season after his return.

“I had my groin, then overcompensating with my other groin,” he said. “There was stuff on top of that my knee. It was a grind just to get ready for each game. It wasn’t by choice that I didn’t want to practice. It was ‘get me to the game.’ I don’t like that doing that. I don’t like playing football that way. I don’t ever want to cheat the game. I don’t ever want to think I’m not going to be 100%. But that was the cards I was dealt this year. It was a lot.”

In late February, Heyward said the “couch GM’s” calling for him to retire would have the Steelers signing 15 different quarterbacks, and that they’ve forgotten how well he can play when he’s healthy.

“The couch GM’s are out!!!,” he wrote on X. “If they have it their way [I’ll] retire and we will have 15 different QBs. Man you gotta love Steeler fans for the passion. …

“Funny how you get hurt and kill yourself just to get back to play and not be 100 percent. Now they want you to retire cuz I was hurt all year At least I know where y’all stand.”