Commanders Deemed Potential Trade Destination for Steelers 2nd-Round Pick

Pat Freiermuth, Washington Commanders, Pittsburgh Steelers

Getty Pat Freiermuth playing against the Buffalo Bills.

The Washington Commanders signed Zach Ertz in the offseason, giving them a veteran option at the tight end position. Ertz, however, played in the second-fewest games and posted the fewest yards in his career in 2023.

Marcus Mosher of PFF listed the Commanders as a potential landing spot for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth, giving them a younger option at the position.

“There has been no indication that the Steelers are unhappy with Pat Freiermuth, but he is entering the final year of his contract, and there has been no movement toward a potential deal. Freiermuth is a talented player, but he struggled to stay on the field in 2023 and has caught just four touchdowns over the last two seasons.

“There is also a question of his fit in Arthur Smith’s offense as he requires his tight ends to block inline,” Mosher wrote in his realistic trade predictions for veterans who could be moved during the draft column. “Freiermuth has yet to post a season with a run-blocking grade over 60 and it is inarguably the worst part of his game. He can be an effective receiver, but his lack of strength in the run game could make him a clunky fit in Pittsburgh’s new offense.”

Commanders Cut Former TE1 During Offseason

The Washington Commanders cut their former tight end Logan Thomas on March 1 to create cap space. Thomas’ release freed up $6.54 million, according to John Keim of ESPN.

Despite playing well, Thomas became expandable due to his age and the new coaching staff, Keim wrote on March 1.

“Thomas signed with Washington during the 2020 offseason and established himself as an all-around tight end. He caught a career-high 72 passes his first season in Washington for 670 yards and six touchdowns,” Keim wrote. “Thomas had played quarterback his first two seasons — Arizona drafted him in the fourth round in 2014 — but switched to tight end in 2016 with Detroit. Thomas caught 184 passes with Washington, including 55 this past season.

“But he turns 33 in July, and with a new coaching staff and with his cap savings, he became expendable.”

Thomas appeared in 16 games for the Commanders in 2023, posting 496 yards on 55 receptions with four touchdowns.

How Pat Freiermuth Would Help the Commanders

Freiermuth, the former second-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, dealt with a hamstring injury that kept him out for five games during the 2023 season. In the 12 games he played, the 25-year-old had 32 catches, 308 yards, and two touchdowns.

When healthy during the 2022 season, Freiermuth had 732 yards on 63 receptions. As currently constructed, Terry McLaurin was the only player on the Washington Commanders with more than 732 yards last season.

His blocking has improved, too, posting a 77.5 pass block grade last season, according to PFF. Blocking wasn’t always something Freiermuth did well, according to Josh Carney of Steelers Depot. However, Carney noticed the difference in his blocking last season.

“At one point in the 2022 season, Freiermuth’s blocking was a major liability,” Carney wrote on January 3. “That carried over into this season as early on Freiermuth was an absolute zero as a blocker for the Black and Gold before getting hurt and missing a chunk of games.

“Now though, late in the season, Freiermuth has elevated his game as a blocker and is more than holding his own in that area. That was the case on Sunday in the 30-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks as Freiermuth, along with all of the Steelers’ tight ends, performed quite well as blockers as the Steelers ran a lot of 13 personnel.”

Freiermuth also thought he was “doing a great job of recent” in the blocking department.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m doing well. Obviously, it’s gonna be a part of my game that I always have to work on and improve on,” Freiermuth told reporters. “But I feel like I’m doing a great job of recent, and I continue to build on that and that’s something that I’m always gonna have to work on.”

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