Steelers Insider Believes Team Will Cut One of Their WRs Before 2024 Season

Calvin Austin III

Getty Calvin Austin III of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2024 offseason with a need at wide receiver.

Then they traded Diontae Johnson and made the need even more urgent. Since then, they’ve been busy adding receivers to the roster.

They’ve signed Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, and Cordarrelle Patterson since trading Johnson.

None of them appear to be the long-term answer to their need for a productive WR2.

Patterson has a guaranteed role on the team because of his talent as a kick returner, but the other two will find themselves fighting with Calvin Austin for placement on the depth chart during the preseason.

That could leave one of Austin, Jefferson, or Watkins looking for a new team before the season begins.

During an appearance on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers insider Ray Fittipaldo revealed that he believes that one of those three won’t be on the Steelers’ roster at the start of the 2024 NFL season.

“They’re collecting number four and five receivers receivers now, in my opinion. You got Watkins, you got Van Jefferson, and you have Calvin Austin. I don’t view any of those guys, right now, as top-three receivers,” Fittipaldo said (via Steelers Nation).  So, I think there’s a pretty good chance that one of those guys won’t be on the roster come September.”

The Steelers’ Real Wide Receiver Need

The Steelers have been busy picking up wide receivers over the past few weeks with Jefferson, Watkins, and Patterson all joining the roster.

However, they still haven’t addressed their biggest need.

George Pickens is going to shoulder a lot of the load at receiver in 2024 after racking up 1140 yards this past season.

He’s going to need somebody to take some pressure off him next season in their WR2 slot and it’s becoming more likely that the Steelers will try to find that player in the draft.

At this point in free agency, the options at the position are drying up and for some reason it seems they aren’t working on signing Tyler Boyd.

That could lead them to a draft that is deep at the position even though they still have a few other needs to address.

Even if the Steelers do grab a receiver in the draft, there should still be playing time up for grabs that Jefferson, Watkins, and Austin can fight for.

Fighting for Spots on the Depth Chart

Fittipaldo may see them as WR4s and WR5s, but these three are likely going to be fighting for the third and fourth spot on the depth chart.

They had very similar seasons in 2023.

Austin has 17 catches for 180 yards in his first season actually seeing NFL action.

Jefferson had 20 catches for 209 yards while splitting his season between the Rams and Falcons.

Watkins made 15 catches for 142 yards.

Those aren’t the numbers most teams would be looking for at WR3, but it’s a position that might not really be a priority for the Steelers that is expected to become very run-heavy in 2024.

With that, it seems unlikely that the team is going to go out and get a WR3 on top of the WR2 they need right now.

Austin should be the one whose position is the safest of the three fighting for the WR3 and WR4 slots. His contract is cheap and he’s the only one of the three that is under contract through 2025.

With just one year under his belt, he is also the receiver with the best chance to improve ahead of the 2024 season.

It’s far from the most high-profile position battle on the Steelers’ roster, but it should still be interesting to see how things turn out at wide receiver for the team this offseason.

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