It’s no secret that the Steelers secondary is among the worst in the NFL right now. The corners in particular have been a real weakness on this team. We voiced this concern about the Steelers secondary early on in the offseason. Steelers ignoring top corners pro days…What gives?
More playing time for Joey Porter Jr is a partial solution. Omar Khan and company can’t stop there however. This team needs to make a move at the trade deadline to improve this unit. Here are six potential targets the Steelers could be looking at as we near the October 31st NFL trade deadline:
1. Patrick Surtain CB – Denver Broncos
This is by far the best player on our list, and one that will require the most assets in return. Patrick Surtain was the 9th overall pick for the Broncos in 2021, and made the Pro Bowl in 2022. There’s no certainty the Broncos would even be willing to move him, but recent reports out of Denver suggest no one is off the table after their 1-4 start. https://www.si.com/nfl/broncos/news/broncos-active-nfl-trade-deadline-rumors
A trade like this would be akin to the Minkah Fitzpatrick blockbuster move a few years back. Denver is sure to want a first round pick, and additional assets to part with Surtain. It’s a long shot, but one worth at least investigating for Pittsburgh.
2. Budda Baker NB – Arizona Cardinals
Overshadowed by how bad the perimeter corner play has been, few have noticed that the slot corner position has also been less than ideal. Budda Baker is like a Swiss Army knife who can play in the slot, or at safety. Baker is an asset in run defense as well averaging well over 100 tackles a season in his six year NFL career.
Budda Baker is currently on the IR, but is eligible to come off in week six. He is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. The Steelers would be on the hook for what is left of his $13 million salary for 2023. We can’t imagine this would cost more than a mid-round pick to acquire Baker.
3. Rasul Douglas CB – Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are a team to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches. They are in a sort of rebuild mode now that they have finally moved on from Aaron Rogers. The Pack is loaded at corner, and may be willing to part with one for the right price. They have all world corner Jaire Alexander, and are about to get former first round pick Eric Stokes off IR. Rasul Douglas would be an immediate upgrade over either Levi Wallace, or Patrick Peterson in the Steelers secondary.
4. Harrison Smith SS – Minnesota Vikings
Strong safety is yet another position in dire need of an upgrade for the Steelers. Now that the Vikings have fallen to 1-4, and have put star receiver Justin Jefferson on IR, they seem very likely to be open for business come the trade deadline.
Harrison Smith is a ten year vet with six Pro Bowls to his name. He would be a fantastic fit along side Minkah Fitzpatrick on this defense. The downside is Smith is 34 years old, and is due $17 million in 2024. The Vikings would have to eat some of that contract to make this work. A lower mid-round draft pick probably gets this deal done.
5. Kendall Fuller CB – Washington Commanders
Kendall Fuller is in the last year of his four year deal with the Washington Commanders. If Washington should fall further out of the playoff chase, Fuller may very well become available. Still only 28, Kendall Fuller is an above average corner who would be considerably better than anyone the Steelers have now. Compensation could get tricky as many teams would be interested in his services should he become available.
6. Adoree’ Jackson NB – New York Giants
The New York Giants 1-4 start make them ideal candidates to be sellers at the trade deadline. While Adoree Jackson has been a bit of a disappointment since being drafted in the first round by the Titans in 2017, he would be a significant upgrade for the Steelers in the slot. Anywhere this team can get better in the secondary has to be looked at come October 31st.