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Steelers Analysis

One Trade That Makes Plenty of Sense for Steelers



Steelers Kaiir Elam

The Steelers and the NFL will watch closely tomorrow as the trade deadline winds down. Officially, it ends at 4 p.m., meaning that teams must get active early in the day. It’s not against the odds that the Steelers could be among those teams, even though they do not scream to you as a contender.

But there is one deal that, from afar, makes plenty of sense. The Buffalo Bills are in the market for cornerback help. Meanwhile, the Steelers want some cornerback help, too. But can those teams help satisfy each other’s needs simultaneously? They might be able to do just that. Buffalo is unhappy with Dane Jackson and wants some veteran help, so much so that they are playing Josh Norman. Who has lost out due to this? Former first-round pick Kaiir Elam has been inactive for five games this year, even with Tre’Davious White’s injury.

For Pittsburgh, Levi Wallace has struggled. Mike Tomlin revealed that Joey Porter Jr. has done enough to start, even when Wallace returns. That could leave the veteran relegated to sub-packages, but Pittsburgh might rather see some of the younger guys, like James Pierre and even Darius Rush, in those spots.

Elam has generated interest, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Wallace has plenty of experience in the Buffalo scheme under Sean McDermott, where he has played the best football of his career despite struggling in 2023. With the Bills, Wallace totaled 219 combined tackles, 30 passes defended, and six interceptions.

Elam, in 97 coverage snaps this season, has allowed ten receptions on 13 targets for 135 yards. It’s not a sterling stat line. But Elam is just 22 years old. However, when you are a team like the Bills with Super Bowl aspirations, you can not afford to make time for struggling young players. Elam got torched and hurt the Bills in those games.

On the other hand, the Steelers can coddle Elam with his technique and get him experience under Patrick Peterson. He could fill the void in those sub-packages at some point this season. Wallace goes back to the Bills as a veteran insurance player who knows the system and has played it at a high level before.

Now, independent of one another, Elam is the more significant trade chip. So, Pittsburgh might have to send Wallace and a pick back, but it makes sense to give the Bills some relief at cornerback if they can not find a better option, especially if they are looking to move Elam in the short term.

This entire idea falls through if the Bills do not want to move Elam or if they want compensation for Elam. But in theory, on paper, this makes some sense. The Steelers should explore it. I think they should explore acquiring Elam for straight-up draft compensation. Young cornerbacks with upside are hard to come by, and Pittsburgh could use as many of those players as possible. So, if the rumors are true, and the Bills want security in a familiar face, Wallace plus a pick for Elam might be an enticing move that makes sense.