Steelers Could Be in ‘Prime Position’ in Potential Aaron Donald Trade Scenario

Mike Tomlin

Getty Head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are being encouraged to pursue for 7-time All-Pro Aaron Donald if he's made available at the trade deadline.

The Pittsburgh Steelers already have two big-named pass rushers. But acquiring a third before the NFL trade deadline at the 2023 midseason point doesn’t appear to be out of the realm of possibilities.

One pass rusher who could be available inld  the right circumstances is Los Angeles Rams seven-time All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

Michael Lombardi of The Daily Coach talked about the potential of Donald being on the trade block this coming season on The Pat McAfee Show on July 7.

“Say the Rams start off slow. Say they are 1-5, 2-6, somewhere in there, and they are headed for Caleb Williams in the draft,” Lombardi said. “Do they trade, at that point, Aaron Donald to a team at the trade deadline?

“Do we get an NBA trade for Aaron Donald because he’s truly their only asset?”

In response to that question, Sports Illustrated’s Noah Strackbein proposed the Steelers as a potential destination for Donald in that scenario.

“While every team in the NFL would be interested in adding Donald’s talents to their roster, the Steelers might be in a prime position to do so,” Strackbein wrote. “The three-time Defensive Player of the Year grew up in Pittsburgh, attended Pitt and still returns each offseason to workout at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

“Even if he’s never been on the Steelers side of the facility, it’d be the easiest transition to move from one team to the next if he returned home.”

Donald attended Penn Hills High School, which is less than a half hour from Acrisure Stadium. He also played college football at Pitt, who shares that stadium with the Steelers.

Could the Rams Trade Aaron Donald During 2023 NFL Season?

Training camp has yet to begin, and still, rumors that the Rams could move Donald in a trade are already beginning to start.

In addition to Lombardi proposing the idea, Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre wrote about the possibility.

“I can see them being one of the worst teams in the league, and thus they decide to pull the trigger and trade Aaron Donald, basically their only good defender,” wrote McIntyre.

Essentially, Lombardi had the same reasoning for his Donald trade suggestion. He argued that the Rams already tried and failed to move quarterback Matthew Stafford in a trade this offseason.  With wide receiver Cooper Kupp recovering from an ACL injury, Los Angeles’ star power that won the Super Bowl 17 months ago is growing thin.

“Their only true asset really that’s marketable is Aaron Donald,” said Lombardi.

If the Rams are sitting in the bottom of the NFC West and appear out of the wild card picture in October, a rebuild could start immediately. That would mean shopping Donald.

How Aaron Donald Could Fit With the Steelers

Like Los Angeles trading Donald, Pittsburgh pursuing the 32-year-old depends heavily on how the team starts the season. The Steelers won’t be able to justify acquiring the 7-time All-Pro if they begin 2-6 like last season.

But a hot start for the Steelers will mean Pittsburgh acquiring talent at the trade deadline. Strackbein argued general manager Omar Khan shouldn’t rule out Donald as a target.

“For the Steelers, they have their starting defensive line in Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi and rookie Keeanu Benton, but adding Donald should never be out of the question,” Strackbein wrote. “Like many around the NFL, if the trade deadline came and they were in a position to make a run for a Super Bowl, why would you not at least try to add the best defender of a generation?”

Strackbein added that Donald would not come cheaply. But the Steelers do have a full complement of draft picks for 2024 and could leverage Donald coming home as a factor in the trade market.

In nine NFL seasons, Donald has posted 103 sacks, 160 tackles for loss and 237 quarterback hits. He’s also posted 24 forced fumbles and 18 pass defenses.

Last season, he had 5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits and 1 forced fumble.

A lot would have to happen for Donald to land with the Steelers. But it’s a rumor that could continue until at least the start of the regular season.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments