Steelers Urged to Consider Targeting Speedy $12 Million WR

George Pickens Darius Slayton

Getty Steelers Now's Nick Farabaugh argued the Pittsburgh Steelers should consider pursuing veteran wideout Darius Slayton to pair him with George Pickens.

It does not appear that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be able to acquire wide receiver Courtland Sutton from the Denver Broncos. But Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh suggested a new potential trade target for Pittsburgh — New York Giants wideout Darius Slayton.

Farabaugh argued the Steelers could pursue Slayton to start along with budding star receiver George Pickens.

“This could be an under-the-radar strong move for the Steelers if they were willing to cough up some draft capital,” Farabaugh wrote. “Slayton is still on an affordable deal, and a new contract will not break the bank.

“Theoretically, the team will want to pay George Pickens after this season, and Slayton’s contract does not prevent them from doing that, even in the event of a new deal.”

Farabaugh noted that Slayton has never eclipsed the 800-yard mark in his five-year NFL career. But, he’s been very consistent, posting 700 or more receiving yards in four of his five seasons.

At the 2019 NFL combine, Slayton ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds. Only five wideout prospects finished the 40-yard dash in under that time at the 2024 NFL combine.

As Farabaugh mentioned, Slayton needs a new deal after this season. But he will likely be affordable. His current contract is a 2-year deal worth $12 million. The contract included a $3.5 million signing bonus.

Why the Steelers Could Target WR Darius Slayton

It would not at all be surprising to see the Steelers both draft a receiver and acquire a veteran before the start of training camp. That’s because based on 2023 production, the Steelers receiving corps is quite bare.

Pittsburgh signed veterans Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins after trading Diontae Johnson in March. But Jefferson and Watkins combined for only 351 receiving yards last season. Both are signed to league-minimum contracts and are not guaranteed to make the final roster.

Without Johnson, the Steelers have only one receiver on its current roster that had more than 209 receiving yards last season.

That was Pickens, who led the NFL in yards per reception during 2023. That’s one of Slayton’s strengths as well. He’s averaged 15.1 yards per catch in his career. Slayton has also posted at least 15 yards per catch in four of his five seasons.

Slayton recorded those statistics as the Giants No. 1 receiver. He will only benefit if he gets to play with Pickens in 2024.

Steelers Striking Out With Brandon Aiyuk, Courtland Sutton?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac wrote in a fan chat on April 17 that the Steelers have pursued San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk this offseason. The Steelers have also been mentioned as a candidate to target Sutton, who didn’t report to Denver’s voluntary offseason workouts on April 16.

But the possibility of either receiver landing in Pittsburgh has been dispelled one way or another.

49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters on March 25 that the team was actively engaging Aiyuk in contract negotiations and working toward an extension.

On April 20, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported despite multiple trade inquiries, the Broncos “do not plan to trade” Sutton.

Either Aiyuk or Sutton would be superior receiving targets for the Steelers to acquire. But acquiring either would take more draft capital than it would for Slayton. Both Aiyuk and Sutton also project to be more expensive on their next deals.

Therefore, Slayton could actually be a preferred option. With him, the Steelers could land a No. 2 receiver while keeping its best 2024 draft capital and still have salary cap space to sign Pickens next offseason.

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