NFL Rumors: Steelers gave Patrick Mahomes a reason to hate them with trade robbery

The Kansas City Chiefs were interested in Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, but Omar Khan was having none of it.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs are still pursuing a top-level wide receiver in NFL free agency, as their efforts thus far have not worked. Granted, the Chiefs don't have a ton of available money to play with, as they signed Chris Jones to a record contract and still owe L'Jarius Sneed $19 million on the franchise tag.

One plausible new WR1 for Patrick Mahomes just a few days ago was Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson. However, Pittsburgh opted to trade Johnson to the basement of the NFC in the Carolina Panthers. In doing so they acquired cornerback Donte Jackson and a Day 3 draft pick.

I, for one, was surprised the Steelers couldn't get more for a player of Johnson's stature. His contract is relatively affordable as compared to what lesser wideouts are receiving on the open market. He's also a productive route-runner who would thrive in Andy Reid's offense. However, the Chiefs are also...the Chiefs, back-to-back Super Bowl champions. Perhaps Pittsburgh didn't want to provide Mahomes with more ammo.

As it turns out, there is some truth to that.

NFL Rumors: Steelers didn't want to trade Diontae Johnson to the Chiefs

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network made it crystal clear that the Chiefs did reach out about Johnson, but the Steelers didn't want to trade their prized wide receiver to a fellow AFC contender.

When paired with Rashee Rice and Travis Kelce, Johnson would have been an immediate threat with the Chiefs in a contract year. Johnson is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season and has a moderate cap hit.

Now that Johnson is in Carolina, the Chiefs can turn their attention elsewhere. Odell Beckham Jr. is available, as are Mike Williams and Hunter Renfrow.

While the Steelers made the right decision in the short term, providing Mahomes with extra bulletin-board material (or motivation in general) is never a wise decision.

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