The Steelers are still looking to improve their roster in more than a few ways, and one of those ways could be through a trade. So, when the rumors of a potential Isaiah Simmons trade began to swirl in addition to the release of DeAndre Hopkins, it looked like the Cardinals could be looking to move some players.
Listen, that does not mean that the Cardinals are all of a sudden selling everyone off. However, Budda Baker has a trade request out there that he made known. Simmons, meanwhile, is working with the defensive backs after playing linebacker for the past three seasons of his career, with his fifth-year option being declined. New general manager Monti Ossenfort combined with new head coach Jonathan Gannon is going to want to shape the roster in their own image.
However, if they are selling, it makes all the sense in the world for the Steelers to inquire about both players. I think Baker is far less likely for one obvious reason. He will want a new extension and I’m not sure it’s all that smart for the Steelers to pour that much money into the safety spots. But if the price is reasonable on both ends, then maybe it ends up happening. I think the likely option is that there will be some other team out there far more willing to pay a more lucrative price for Baker than the Steelers, who already have to take care of Alex Highsmith before the season starts. He’s an all-pro with a lot of tread left there. The contract he gets he will deserve.
Simmons makes far more sense. It would be interesting to see where the Steelers would peg him as a player given that he has played four different spots throughout his career. There is a lot of talent there for the team to potentially harness, though. As an athlete, Simmons is a rare breed and that could be the groundwork that the Steelers look at and like anyways. Mike Tomlin does not run away from uniqueness, and Simmons certainly is unique enough to be a guy that Pittsburgh would need to have a definitive plan for before acquiring.
Whether it is at slot cornerback or inside linebacker, though, Simmons fits two roles that make sense. He could be your run-down slot cornerback and shift inside to dime linebacker in sub-packages. When we talk about the specialization of the Steelers’ defense, Simmons offers many options. He could allow Pittsburgh a lot of flexibility in what they do over the top and upfront because of his unique skillset.
The bottom line of this entire thing is that I’m not sure if the Cardinals will sell. But if they are, it’s hard for me to argue that Pittsburgh should not place a couple of calls and poke around there. It could turn into nothing, but if it all works out, maybe Pittsburgh comes away with an impact player from these negotiations.