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Analysis: Steelers Get Fantastic Value in Kevin Dotson Trade



Steelers G Kevin Dotson

The Steelers have traded Kevin Dotson to the Los Angeles Rams. While the trade itself comes as little surprise for Pittsburgh, the compensation is unorthodox by NFL standards. In more ways than one, it resembles an NBA trade with the pick swap structure that often dominates transactions in that league. But Omar Khan got creative in getting the deal done to move Dotson.

The terms of the deal are the following, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN: the deal includes pick swaps for each side. The Steelers will get the Rams’ 4th-round pick in 2024, while the Rams get the Steelers 2024 5th-round pick. In 2025, the Steelers will get the Rams’ 5th-round pick, while the Rams will get the Steelers’ 2025 6th-round pick.

For a guy who the Steelers viewed as redundant depth, given the rise of Nate Herbig as the team’s primary backup at all interior spots, Dotson had an odd place on the team. He likely would have made the final 53-man roster and, in an offensive line starved league, can start for several teams. He just ended up third in the pecking order for the Steelers. The Rams give up very little for a guy who could provide quality interior depth or even start. In the last year of his deal, the value would naturally be depressed for the Steelers as they looked to move off him.

It allows them to fit two young offensive linemen on the roster. Spencer Anderson and Dylan Cook can now fit onto the roster for a team that wants depth across the offensive line, not just on the interior. Anderson and Cook played well in the preseason and have earned their way onto the roster. So, exposing young offensive linemen on the waiver wire never comes across as intelligent business.

Currently, projections have the Rams as one of the NFC’s worst teams. The offense remains solid, with Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Sean McVay guiding the ship. However, the defensive depth remains a massive question at this point. A pick swap could net Pittsburgh if they play to their standards upward movement of 30 or more spots in the draft for two straight years. Pittsburgh hopes it can end up even more stark than that across those rounds.

Moving up into the fourth round is a win for Khan and the Steelers. The trade could have stopped with a late-round pick, but Khan squeezed more out of the vine. On paper, that could be an early fourth Pittsburgh just acquired. Fourth-round selections end up spotty at best, but it could end up as another Nick Herbig or turn into another guy like Dotson, who gave Pittsburgh 30 starts over his three years with the team.

So, count the return for a guy who likely would get little run during the season and makes for awkward depth in the offensive line room as a quality haul for Khan and company. It also allows other young linemen to earn their spots on the 53-man roster. Dotson landed inside the team’s best 53 players but never provided enough utility to stick with those two young players pushing for spots behind him.

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