The Steelers tried to land Bears star cornerback Jaylon Johnson at the trade deadline, but the compensation that Omar Khan would have had to dish out was too much. But Johnson is a free agent this offseason, and while he believed he could come to a deal with the Bears, Pro Football Focus threw out spots that make sense for him.
One of their top landing spots is Pittsburgh. That makes sense, given their pursuit of him and what it would allow them to do with a guy like Patrick Peterson. Not only would the Steelers be able to play Johnson and Joey Porter Jr. together in unique ways, but it would free up Minkah Fitzpatrick to do a lot on the back end, too.
Johnson was the No. 50 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the fourth-year pro had a career season and is likely to get All-Pro recognition. His play this season slotted him in as a top cornerback in the NFL moving forward, so the Steelers’ acquisition of him would give them two young cornerbacks to work within the secondary. Given their interest in him, it seems likely that the team will be in on him during the offseason if he does hit the market, but there was optimism from Johnson that he could remain in Chicago.
“I think we get a deal done. I expect to get a deal done — let’s say that. I’m confident and expect to get a deal done in Chicago,” Johnson said.
For Pittsburgh, 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. If Johnson is added, the team gets far more versatile on the interior and middle of the defense with him and Porter on the outside.