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Steelers Analysis

Why Darius Slayton is the Sleeper Trade Option for the Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers might have a sleeper trade option in Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton with his level of consistency.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Target WR Darius Slayton

Another day. and potentially, another potential trade target for the Pittsburgh Steelers at wide receiver. The idea that they could go land someone like Courtland Sutton or Brandon Aiyuk is being talked about a great deal. It makes sense given the team’s needs and reported desire to land a top fish at the position.

But for now, Aiyuk and the 49ers remain engaged in contract talks while Sutton wants a new contract and the Broncos do not want to move him. So, it all comes together to bring about the question of just how the Steelers would end up trying to go for if they wanted a wide receiver?

Aiyuk needs a new extension. Second, the Steelers have to be willing to give up the correct amount of compensation to land Aiyuk. The one report out there is that the Jacksonville Jaguars were interested in Aiyuk, and the cost to them would have been pricey, including a first-round pick.

The third player who could be an option also wants a new contract, as New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton did not report for the team’s first phase of offseason workouts.

But he talked about his contract negotiations going on with the Giants, and currently, they are in healthy talks to facilitate a new extension.

“Right now, my agent (Michael Perrett) and (general manager) Joe (Schoen), they’re in negotiations. They’re talking,” Slayton said via ESPN. “Hopefully, we’ll come to a resolution here soon. I don’t think it will get to that point (training camp. Like I said, it’s been good, constant communication throughout the whole process. It’ll be resolved soon.”

This could be an under-the-radar strong move for the Steelers if they were willing to cough up some draft capital. Slayton is still on an affordable deal, and a new contract will not break the bank. Theoretically, the team will want to pay George Pickens after this season, and Slayton’s contract does not prevent them from doing that, even in the event of a new deal.

Slayton has never eclipsed 800 yards in a season, largely due to some poor quarterback play. But he has led the Giants in receiving yards for four of the five seasons in the Big Apple. A consistent contributor and deceptive route runner, Slayton is one of the league’s more underappreciated players.

A taller player with the speed to burn can be a vertical threat who can open. However, one of the most underrated aspects of Slayton’s game is his blocking. With those two things combined together, the schematic fit for Slayton actually makes a ton of sense for the Steelers. For a draft capital value, I’m not really sure where the league would approach Slayton, but I would assume it would land on a day-three pick.

He’s not the home run hit that someone like Aiyuk is, but Slayton is a consistently productive player with a high floor that fits what the Steelers want to do offensively. That’s a recipe for success, even if the team is likely to nab someone in the NFL Draft, too. So, if Slayton’s contract request ends up devolving into trade talks, this could be something the Steelers jump in on.

I think people probably sleep on Slayton. This is not like someone who has been suggested like Treylon Burks. Surrounded by a mediocre supporting cast and quarterback play throughout his career, Slayton is a vertical threat who runs a full route tree from the outside. He blocks well and has played all the spots he would need to in the Arthur Smith offense. In other words, Slayton would be a cheaper add with significant upside given Russell Wilson’s obvious strength as a deep ball specialist at this point in his career.

The new contract with deals like this adds a wrinkle that complicates matters. But in reality, how rich would a deal with Slayton be with the Steelers? He makes $6 million per year now, and it would not dramatically increase if given a new two-year contract. So, the Steelers should be in on Slayton, who has an underrated skillset and the perfect strengths to accentuate what the team needs on their offense right now.