Insider pours cold water on Steelers rumored trade for veteran WR

Pittsburgh Steelers fans hoping the team trades for a big-name wide receiver, prepare to be disappointed.
Jan 6, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin  walks the field
Jan 6, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the field / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have undergone significant retooling this offseason. While the quarterback room has changed, you can't also forget about the receiving corps. The team traded away Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, released Allen Robinson, and signed former Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson to pair alongside George Pickens and Calvin Austin III.

Despite these moves, the Steelers were linked to making a trade for a big-time wide receiver in the lead up to, and during, the NFL Draft. Whether it was a move looming, or being linked to wide receivers like Brandon Aiyuk of the San Francisco 49ers.

The MMQB's Albert Breer recently discussed the Steelers being linked to a trade for a big-name veteran wide receiver, but notes he doesn't see that happening. Specifically, Breer notes that the team has preferred to have "homegrown" players at the position, and the history of those draft picks panning out.

"Pittsburgh’s drafted 19 receivers over the last 18 draft cycles. The highest pick spent in the bunch was on Chase Claypool, who went 49th in 2020. Yet, without spending more than that on the position, they’ve wound up with Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Martavis Bryant, Juju Smith-Schuster, James Washington, George Pickens, Johnson and Claypool, all of whom wound up producing to varying degrees for the team," writes Breer.

Insider views trading for big name veteran WR as unlikely for Steelers

Breer also points out a interesting statistic, no wide receiver that wasn't homegrown by the Steelers has led the team in receiving yards since 1941, when Don Looney notched 186.

One important note from Breer is that this feeling of the Steelers opting against trading for a big-name veteran spells good news for rookie Roman Wilson, who they drafted in the third-round out of Michigan.

Wilson was part of the Wolverines' national championship-winning team this past season and their star wide receiver. While the offense was run-heavy, Wilson was able to haul in 48 passes for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games played. Plus, as Pro Football Focus points out, Wilson only had a two percent drop rate, which ranked 11th-lowest among FBS players who received 65 or more targets.

In his four years at Ann Arbor, Wilson recorded 107 receptions for 1,707 yards and 20 touchdowns.

So for Steelers fans holding out hope that the team could make a big splash move before the start of the season for additional pass catchers, that doesn't appear to be the case.