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2024 NFL Draft

Tyler Boyd Doesn’t Fill Need Steelers Want to Address at WR

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to get someone who can fill a different role at wide receiver than Tyler Boyd, who remains a free agent.

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR Tyler Boyd
Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dec. 23, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tyler Boyd deal is dead. That very much seems certain, and was largely reaffirmed when Jeremy Fowler stated that the team still had not made a ‘hard offer’ for Boyd yet, which tracks with everything around the situation.

Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan reported on Tuesday that the Steelers offered Boyd a two-year contract in the range of $10 million.

That’s slightly below most estimates of Boyd’s value. Spotrac projects Boyd will sign a three-year contract worth $26.1 million, or an average annual value of $8.7 million.

The Steelers are interested in signing Boyd, but the sides are in a standoff regarding money and/or contract term, and it doesn’t seem that either is willing to blink. The Steelers have signed free agent wide receivers Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins to one-year contracts since they first contacted Boyd.

Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reported on Monday that the “ship has sailed” between Boyd and the Steelers. And he reiterated that on 93.7 the Fan on Monday.

“I don’t think so man. I think they are waiting now; I think sometime after the draft, these free agents don’t count toward the compensatory picks. I can see him going someplace like Kansas City because, obviously, they need a wide receiver right now with [Rashee] Rice up in the air. Unless something crazy happens, which I don’t think will, I don’t think Boyd’s coming here,” Kaboly said.

And more than that, on Wednesday’s Gerry Dulac stated that Boyd does not fill the role the Steelers want to fill. In other words, they do not want a slot receiver, but someone who can play on the outside as the complement to George Pickens.

“Tyler Boyd does not fill the role they are hoping to address,” Dulac said. 
A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Boyd was Cincinnati’s primary slot receiver for six years, working inside Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in the team’s usual starting. The 29-year-old has been one of the most consistent slot receivers in the NFL. He has recorded at least 50 catches and 600 receiving yards in seven of his eight seasons. His best years came in 2018-19, when he exceeded 1,000 yards for the only two times in his career lineup. But don’t think that it has completely sailed just yet. There is an obvious scenario where Boyd could sign, especially since at this point he might wait until after the draft.

Receiver, it feels like they see a need for two others to be added to that room, and it could be different styles of players. I don’t think there’s a clear view of what they want yet from that first receiver they pick other than someone who can immediately step in and play. But all the signs point to double dipping.

There will be one clear need that likely ends up underwhelming. And I think the post-free agency period will be huge for that. After last year’s draft, they signed Chandon Sullivan, Markus Golden, and Kwon Alexander to bolster their team.

The Steelers are likely to do that again at some point, but maybe that’s what sparks the decision to sign Tyler Boyd. Your scenario could force them to bump up the offer enough for Boyd to consider it worthwhile and snap on it. It’s not out there to think that, either, as the team has an urgency to win a playoff game. You have to take some swings to do that.

The Steelers’ wide receivers room has a significant lack of depth right now. George Pickens and Calvin Austin III are the only returning receivers who received playing time in 2023. They’ll need to be urgent, but patient enough to maximize value in the Boyd sweepstakes if they want to land him at a solid price.