Steelers Urged to Pursue Rival’s Reliable ‘Big Slot Receiver’ 

Mike Tomlin Tyler Boyd

Getty Pro Football Focus' Brad Spielberger named Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers the best landing spot for wide receiver Tyler Boyd.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were linked to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd during the first week of NFL free agency. But a deal has yet to come to fruition.

Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, though, hasn’t given up on the possibility of Boyd returning home to Pittsburgh. On March 28, Spielberger named the Steelers the best landing spot for Boyd in free agency.

“Boyd is a big slot receiver with solid blocking chops in the run game,” Spielberger wrote. “He rarely ever drops a target and does well to sit in soft spots of zones on key passing downs.

“However, Boyd posted several career-low marks in 2023, and with so many big financial decisions facing Cincinnati, the Bengals may not be willing to offer him as much as other teams looking to upgrade their unit over the middle.”

Boyd, who is from Clairton, PA, may have recorded a few career lows in 2023. But he still had 67 catches for 667 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. He has reached at least 650 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons.

George Pickens is the only wideout currently on the Pittsburgh 2024 roster who had more than 209 receiving yards during 2023.

In eight NFL seasons, Boyd has posted 513 receptions for 6,000 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns.

How Tyler Boyd Could Fit With the Steelers

Boyd appears to be a natural fit for the Steelers because of his receiving production and blocking prowess. From a production standpoint, Boyd could replace Diontae Johnson, but from a stylistic perspective, he is an upgrade over the team’s 2023 slot receiver Allen Robinson.

The Steelers released Robinson while they traded Johnson for cornerback Donte Jackson.

Making Boyd an even better fit, he attended high school about 30 minutes from Acrisure Stadium.

Regardless of scheme and the potential homecoming, the Steelers just simply need another proven receiver on their roster. The only wideout unsigned that Pro Football Focus ranked among the top 100 free agents this offseason is Odell Beckham Jr.

The Steelers have signed veteran receivers Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins this offseason. But those two wideouts combined for just 351 receiving yards last season.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo argued on 93.7 The Fan that there might not be room on the Steelers’ final roster for both Jefferson and Watkins.

Why Have the Steelers Not Signed Boyd?

Boyd may be a perfect fit for the Steelers. He may also want to play for his hometown team. But money appears to be an issue.

“I think the Steelers view any of these current wide receiver free agents as number threes. … I just don’t think they want to pay $8-9 million a year for a guy who’s going to be a number three,” Fittipaldo said on 93.7 The Fan.

The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly and Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh confirmed that report.

“The Steelers have not been willing to bump up their offer to free-agent wideout Tyler Boyd, making that signing a longshot,” Kaboly wrote. “That leaves the draft as the primary avenue to replace Johnson and find a legitimate threat next to Pickens.”

Receiver is an urgent need for the Steelers. However, with the mad rush to start NFL free agency complete, the Steelers can afford to be a little patient.

More than likely, they will wait for the NFL draft to grab a starting receiver and then reassess their potential need at the position.

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