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If Steelers Want to Make WR Trade, Courtland Sutton Looks Most Attractive

The Pittsburgh Steelers could very well be looking to make a trade for a wide receiver and Courtland Sutton makes sense.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Courtland Sutton

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made it no secret that they have called around about wide receiver help this offseason. After trading Diontae Johnson, the obvious plan would be to pivot to the trade market and add someone there. But so far, it has gone cold as Pittsburgh and other teams did not make a trade during the NFL Draft. The next likeliest time when a trade would be made is Post-June 1, and potentially deep into training camp. Names such as Brandon Aiyuk, DK Metcalf, and Courtland Sutton have gained steam.

Sound familiar? It is the tune that I have played here for a long time. It will take a long time for all of this to develop, but there will likely be someone that will become available at some point. With so many wide receivers looking for contracts, you could see someone unexpected come out on the trade market. Or, one of the players who has become talked about heavily might be pried loose.

Steelers Playoff courtland Sutton

ORCHARD PARK, NY – NOVEMBER 24: Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Courtland Sutton (14) prior to the National Football League game between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills on November 24, 2019, at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

To me, the likeliest is Courtland Sutton. Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week that Sutton is trending towards staying in Denver, but to be fair, I would say all of those in the contract situations will trend that way until something else happens. So, Sutton’s contract situation comes to the forefront. Jeremy Fowler gave some added detail to that, saying that Sutton does not want $20 million per year but more around $15 to $16 million per year.

“The Denver Broncos have been speaking with Sutton and his representatives,” Fowler reported. “No real progress yet, so even though they were hoping he showed up for OTAs, he very well might not be there. He is due about $13.6 million in cash this year. He’d like to see that get up to maybe in that $15, $16 million range. We’ll see if they can find a sweet spot.”

That’s not an unrealistic demand from Sutton. Getting the number up to $20 million feels far more unrealistic. But for the Steelers, they could trade a draft pick and land Sutton for just $16 million a year, that does make sense. The looming cloud over all of this is that George Pickens will be on deck for a contract next season. A contract in that range will not hurt the Steelers’ ability to pay Pickens in 2025.

Sutton is not the best player of those above. Aiyuk is the best skill set and would bring a level of electricity to the Steelers offense that they could use. However, with his ask going up, potentially over $30 million per year after Amon-Ra St. Brown, A.J. Brown, and Jaylen Waddle all got paid, the Steelers would have to pay him that and trade a high draft pick. But Sutton going for a mid-round pick and half that in contract value is much more palatable for the team.

There are concerns with the on-field fit, but Sutton is still just 29 and has shown baseline WR2 traits. When combing through what is realistic, Sutton feels like the top option.