Steelers could steal longtime rival and finally bring him home to unlock Kenny Pickett

The Steelers need to give Kenny Pickett some more help this offseason, and there is one target who stands out as an option.

Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Although Kenny Pickett had his moments for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2023 NFL regular season, the 2022 first-round pick still hasn't shown he is the right franchise quarterback in the Steel City. Pickett even had to compete with the middling Mason Rudolph for the starting job, and while the 25-year-old remains QB1 in west Pennsylvania, he may not have that much time left to prove it.

The 2024 offseason could bring a whirlwind of changes to the Steelers notoriously stable organization, including the potential departure of iconic coach Mike Tomlin if he is not given an extension. Only one year remains on Tomlin's current contract.

Among the top priorities for the Steelers should be boosting the weapons around Pickett or whoever ends up starting at quarterback for the franchise in the 2024 regular season. George Pickens is a dynamic option on the outside despite his frustrating moments, Diontae Johnson is also highly talented, the running backs can make plays in the passing game, Allen Robinson brings a pedigree, and Pat Freiermuth is a great tight end.

The thing is, the Steelers are missing a "quarterback's best friend" kind of possession receiver who can bail a young signal-caller out. They need someone who can own the slot, win the short-area game on the outside, make plays with the ball in his hands, and be that possession blanket option.

Tyler Boyd sounds like a man who dreams of a Pittsburgh return

Enter Tyler Boyd. The rival Cincinnati Bengals have two enticing impending free agents this spring at wide receiver, and while much of the focus is on the dynamism of Tee Higgins, Boyd could be the real catch and a bargain.

When asked about possibility of returning to Pittsburgh, Boyd didn't just leave the door wide open; he pretty much hinted at a desire to move back to the city where he famously starred in as a college baller. Boyd specifically spoke glowingly of Tomlin, who has a rock-solid relationship with players and a copious amount of respect league-wide.

Boyd told,'s Dominic Campbell, “I love coach Tomlin. He’s probably one of the realest dudes in the sport’s business. Obviously, I played at Pitt, and I had a lot of run-ins with him and talked to him just about football. His personality is more like a father figure, it’s a great connection, but who knows? Even if I don’t go after this year, I could do a one-year deal at the end of my career and maybe finish up, but who knows.”

That sounds like a player who really wants to return to his home of Pittsburgh. On paper, Boyd is a tremendous fit for the Steelers. He fits the city and culture, he has the profile they are looking for at wide receiver, he fills a need, and he has plenty of successful experience in this league. The Bengals wideout has caught more than 50 passes in seven seasons, including a whopping 90 in 2019. He can help Pickett big-time.

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