Steelers ‘In the Mix’ for Former 2nd-Round Wide Receiver: Sources

Mike Tomlin

Getty Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly "in the mix" for a former second-round wide receiver.

Several NFL teams have been connected to New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims since he made a trade request in August 2022. On July 19, the Pittsburgh Steelers were linked to the 25-year-old receiver.

Heavy senior reporter Matt Lombardo reported on Twitter that the Steelers and the New England Patriots are “two teams that are in the mix” for Mims.

Lombardo also named Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers as possible destinations for Mims.

The report from Lombardo came hours after NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted that the Jets are planning to release Mims if they can’t find a trade partner.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Mims remains on the Jets roster.


Jets Exploring Trade Options for Denzel Mims

The Jets shopping Mims on the trade market isn’t necessarily a new revelation. Mims requested to be traded from the Jets through a statement from his agent on August 25, 2022.

“Denzel tried in good faith, but it’s clear he does not have a future with the Jets,” Mims’ agent Ron Slavin wrote. “Denzel vowed to come back better than ever this season and worked extremely hard in the offseason to make that happen.

“Still, he has been given no opportunities with the starting offense to get in a groove with them.”

CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani reported that the Panthers called the Jets about the receiver, but Mims remained in New York for all of last season. He played a career-low 270 offensive snaps and 3 special teams snaps over 10 games in 2022.

With those limited opportunities, Mims caught 11 passes for 186 yards.

Although his production and playing time was small in 2022, it was comparable to what he did in 2021. During that season, Mims recorded 8 receptions for 133 yards while playing 277 offensive snaps.

But in 2022, Mims sat out seven games as a healthy scratch. The Jets made him inactive for the first six contests of the season.

The Jets drafted Mims at No. 59 overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. He has posted 42 catches for 676 receiving yards in 30 NFL games.


What Mims Could Bring for the Steelers

The Steelers have a pretty full wide receiver room, which is likely why Lombardo didn’t include Pittsburgh on his list of best fits for Mims despite his report.

But Mims could be an interesting flier for the Steelers if they can add him cheaply.

Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Allen Robinson II are set to enter the 2023 season as Pittsburgh’s top three wideouts. Calvin Austin III, who is essentially a rookie having missed his entire first NFL season, Gunner Olszewski, and Miles Boykin will presumably compete during training camp for the remaining playing time and roster spots at wideout.

Mims could fit as another weapon to compete for a wide receiver depth spot on the roster.

However, Mims’ lack of special teams experience will work against him fitting in Pittsburgh. He’s only played 3 special teams snaps in three NFL seasons. His inability to play special teams could have been partially why the Jets made him inactive so often during 2022.

Olszweski and Boykin each played more than 100 special teams snaps in Pittsburgh last season. Boykin recorded a career-high 207 special teams snaps for the Steelers in 2022.

The other factor Steelers general manager Omar Khan is likely weighing is whether it’s worth trading for Mims if the Jets are planning to release him anyway.

Obviously, acquiring Mims in a trade guarantees landing him. If the Steelers waited until he hits waivers or free agency, they may have to compete with several other teams for his services.

The trade compensation for Mims should not be much, but it still doesn’t make sense to give up something for the receiver if he’s not guaranteed to make the team.

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