Could a Pittsburgh Steelers returning starter be on the trade market?
A report by Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network suggests that Detroit Lions should be looking into trading for Steelers starting outside cornerback Levi Wallace.
“Levi Wallace may no longer be in the Steelers’ plans after they signed Patrick Peterson and drafted fellow cornerback Joey Porter Jr. at the top of the second round,” Robinson wrote.
“Given that Wallace is scheduled to hit free agency next offseason, Pittsburgh could aim to get something in return for him now rather than lose him next year for nothing.”
Wallace joined the Steelers as a free agent before the start of last season and immediately became a crucial cog in the secondary. He played in 15 games and made nine starts while usually manning the outside cornerback spot across from Cam Sutton.
Sutton is already in Detroit, and he will be replaced in Pittsburgh by Patrick Peterson. Wallace makes a lot of sense for the Lions, who did not get a cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft and have Emmanuel Moseley still recovering from an ACL injury.
What’s not clear is why the Steelers would be motivated sellers for their presumptive starting cornerback. Joey Porter Jr. is waiting in the wings an an eventual replacement for Wallace, and he could certainly overtake the veteran for the starting job at some point this season, seemingly making Wallace expendable.
But that’s only part of the story. Like Sutton, the Steelers intend to use Peterson as a slot corner in obvious passing downs, bringing in another outside corner from the bench. That will likely be Porter at the beginning of training camp.
If the Steelers moved on from Wallace, that would elevate one of their other corners, likely fourth-year backup James Pierre or seventh-round pick Cory Trice into that time-share role.
The Steelers are rightfully high on Trice’s potential, but it seems like a stretch the they’d be interested in two-thirds of their usual Nickel cornerback package being manned by players that currently don’t have a down of NFL experience.
Trading Wallace would save the Steelers $4 million in salary cap space, and the club does need to continue to shed salary in order to cap complaint by the start of the season. But Omar Khan has other methods of accomplishing that task that don’t remove a key cog from the secondary.