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Trade Talk Has Lit Fire Under Steelers WR Room: ‘We Most Definitely Hear It’

Talks of the team potentially trading for a wide receiver has lit a fire in the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers room.

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 28, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — At plenty of places around the Pittsburgh Steelers depth chart, teammates understand that they are entering a competition against one of their teammates for a role or for playing time.

That’s obvious at the quarterback position, where Russell Wilson and Justin Fields will have a battle for the starting job, and at plenty of other positions, too. Troy Fautanu, Broderick Jones and Dan Moore Jr. are competing for two tackle jobs. Zach Frazier will try to push aside Nate Herbig at center. 

It’s a bit of a different vibe at wide receiver. George Pickens has solidified his spot as the team’s starting outside wide receiver. Beyond that, things are a bit unclear. Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, Calvin Austin III, Roman Wilson and Scotty Miller are competing for the next four spots on the depth chart, at both outside receiver and in the slot.

But not only is that group competing against one another, they’re also competing against the unknown. The Steelers have been in trade talks with several of the top wide receivers available on the open market, with speculation that Omar Khan could make a splash move at the position rampant this offseason.

That chatter has dominated the fanbase this offseason, and the players that would be pushed down the depth chart a slot by a such a move have certainly heard it. So not only are they competing with one another, they’re competing to show the Steelers what they have is good enough.

“We most definitely hear it,” third-year receiver Calvin Austin III said on Tuesday. “At the end of the day, we understand that this is a business. The only thing that we can control is going out there on the field and putting on a show. So, I mean, we’d be lying if we said it doesn’t motivate or push us. We’re going to go out there and do what we have to go regardless, but we do want to prove that we got what we need. At the end of the day, that’s not gonna be on us. If we bring somebody, good. If we don’t, good. Whatever it is, we’re gonna be ready to go out there and play against the Falcons.”

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Van Jefferson

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Van Jefferson during OTAs at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 21, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Veteran free agent Van Jefferson is the player that most have penciled in for that No. 2 slot on their depth charts, but he understands that placement might just be temporary.

“Obviously, I have a lot of confidence in myself. Obviously think I can do those things,” Jefferson said. “But at the end of the day, I’ve gotta put in the work to get the opportunity to earn that. Nothing is given that’s going to be handed to me. That spot, I’m comfortable doing it.”

It’s created an interesting dynamic between the players assembled in that group, especially because they’re all just getting to know themselves. Austin has been here. Jefferson, Watkins and Miller are free agents. Wilson is a rookie. They all just met. They’re all competing. But at the same time, they’re competing together to try to convince Khan and company that the Steelers have what they need.

“We’re just taking pride in working out together, coming out here competing together,” Jefferson said. “We all know what we’re fighting for. We all know that we’re competing against one another. But at the end of the day, it’s all about coming out here, having fun, and putting your best foot forward.”

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Jesus Christani
Jesus Christani
June 4, 2024 7:28 pm

To hell with gossip sports talk… I want the thought of a Super Bowl ring on your fingers at the end of the 2024 season to light a fire in that WR room… Get your minds right and keep working HARD…

HERE WE GO, STEELERS, HERE WE GO!

Last edited 11 days ago by Jesus Christani
CR Wms
CR Wms
June 5, 2024 11:33 am

I SECOND That !

Less Tomlin
Less Tomlin
June 4, 2024 10:21 pm

Look at the stats per game of the WRs minus Pickens & the rookie Wilson, not much meat on that bone. Without a legit #2 receiver it will fall hard on the defense. You can’t just announce to the world that you’re a run first team, teams will just double Pickens and stack the box.

Last edited 10 days ago by Less Tomlin