The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be one of the finalists to land Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson in a trade.
According to a report by Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, there are four top contenders to trade for Johnson ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, which include the Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
Discussing what’s happening with the #Bears and star CB Jaylon Johnson for @BleacherReport: My understanding is there are two top contenders making a serious push to acquire him before today’s 4pm ET deadline. pic.twitter.com/Fo9bZCAcTR
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) October 31, 2023
The asking price for Johnson was reportedly one or more second- or third-round draft picks earlier in the day on Tuesday, though with multiple teams still involved leading up to the deadline, the possibility of a bidding war remains.
Johnson was the No. 50 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and the fourth-year pro is having a career season. Pro Football Focus graded him as the best cornerback in the NFL through the first seven weeks of the season. He has two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, four passes defended and 18 tackles on the season.
Talks between the Bears and Johnson about a contract extension have been in the works, but have broken down in recent days, leading to his trade request. The 24-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The Steelers are reportedly in the market to add a cornerback. They will have to decide whether spending a second or third-round pick on a rental player will be worth it as they sit at 4-3 after seven games this season. There is also the possibility that they could work out a contract extension with Johnson as part of the trade.
The Steelers have moved Joey Porter Jr. into the starting lineup at one cornerback spot, and could use the addition of Johnson to shore up the other, with Patrick Peterson either moving to slot cornerback or free safety, where starter Minkah Fitzpatrick will miss at least the team’s next game with a hamstring injury.
Peterson has played outside cornerback, slot cornerback and free safety so far in his first season with the Steelers, with head coach Mike Tomlin comparing his versatility to that of former Steelers defensive back Cam Sutton.
“Pat has been very versatile,” Tomlin said. “He displays really, really good football intellect. … When we lost Cam Sutton in free agency, that made him an attractive option because of his flexibility, positional flexibility and his football intellect that will allow him to move around and do some of the things that Cam was able to do when he was here.”
The Steelers could also be moving on from former starting outside cornerback Levi Wallace, who lost his job to Porter. Wallace missed the team’s last game with a foot injury, but it seems that he could be on the trade block. He made a cryptic post on Instagram on Tuesday afternoon.
— Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) October 31, 2023
Bears general manager Ryan Poles might also be feeling a little snakebit when dealing with Omar Khan, as the Steelers landed pick No. 32 from the Bears for wide receiver Chase Claypool at the trade deadline last year.
Claypool was a disaster for the Bears, and they turned around and traded him to the Miami Dolphins this season along with a seventh-round pick and got just a sixth-round pick in return.
The NFL trade deadline is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The Steelers have been active at the deadline in each of the last three season.