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Diontae Johnson Says Goodbye to Pittsburgh



Diontae Johnson Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Diontae Johnson was dealt to the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday night, bringing a close to his five-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In return, the team is acquiring cornerback Donte Jackson and executing a pick swap where the Steelers acquire the No. 178th pick, the second pick of the 6th round, for the No. 240th pick, the Steelers’ 7th round selection.

Shortly after the news broke, Johnson posted a farewell on Instagram to the Steelers organization and the city of Pittsburgh.

“Pittsburgh it’s been real! 5 years ago you brought me in and treated me like family from day one. I will always be grateful for the memories made and relationships I will forever cherish. To my teammates, coaches, staff, and the fans who were there through the good and bad.. thank you for allowing me to grow into the man I am today. 1️⃣8️⃣ out,” Johnson wrote.

The trade isn’t shocking, as Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda sparked the rumor at the NFL Combine that Johnson could be on the trade block. Mark Madden of 105.9 The X also reported that Johnson was unhappy with being in Pittsburgh and wanted out.

Reports out of Carolina suggested that Jackson was a potential cut, so each team got a player that was unhappy with their situation. Johnson had a $3 million roster bonus due on March 16.

Johnson was entering the team’s final year of his two-year extension. He missed multiple weeks this past season with a hamstring injury but has become part of the reason for hope around the Steelers’ offense.The talent at the skill positions is all there. But Johnson’s game is marred with inconsistency but his route running skills is some of the best in the entire NFL.

In 77 career games as a Steeler, Johnson recorded 391 receptions for 4,363 yards (11.2 average) and 25 touchdowns. Johnson was a third-round selection out of Toledo by the Steelers in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Steelers showed a ton of interest in the top receivers in the class at the NFL Combine, including Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze, leading to speculation about Johnson’s future. In addition to Odunze meeting with the Steelers at the combine, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams are potential trade up teams.