Steelers, Mike Tomlin Could Make Move for $75 Million Defender

Getty Mike Tomlin stands on the sideline before a game.

All is quiet on the western front. It’s the calm before the storm. Whatever cliche you choose, except what will happen to quarterbacks Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers, that’s the current state of the NFL and your Pittsburgh Steelers regarding player movement.

But the floodgates will open once free agency and the trade period open with the start of the new league year on March 15, 2023. While the trade deadline isn’t until November, teams are looking for players who can benefit them most as the season kicks off and beyond. We’re a month until moves can be made, but buzz as to which player is going where is well underway.

One of those players who’s been kicked around regarding the Steelers is Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Rams’ Jalen Ramsey to Steelers Buzz

The hype surrounding Jalen Ramsey is real. He was selected fifth overall in the 2016 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and, at 28, is a three-time All-Pro and Super Bowl winner. In 108 games over his eight-year career, he’s made a laundry list of contributions, including 19 interceptions (for 208 yards), one pick-six, 452 tackles, six forced fumbles and two recoveries.

Sounds great, right? The Steelers could use a dude like that. Only there’s one small detail lost in all of this: He’s not a free agent. The Rams made him the highest-paid defensive back in the league with a five-year, $100 million contract in 2020.

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Is a trade for Jalen Ramsey possible? Sure. Will the Steelers do it? Probably not. Mike Tomlin tends not to address units that aren’t losing his team games. For the most part, not scoring points was Pittsburgh’s biggest issue in 2022. He’s likely content with his current cast of characters in the secondary and may not see any urgency to make a move until the expiration of Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon after the 2023 season.

There’s also the question of money. Of course, right? Steelers Depot broke it down, and it just isn’t realistic for either team. The Steelers would inherit his full 2023 $17 million base salary, which would go against a cap already in the red by $3 million and some change.

Steelers Have Better Luck Trading for Corner Than Drafting One

Should there be a corner the Pittsburgh Steelers are high on, whether via the NFL draft or free agency or both, they could make moves. Per Over The Cap, cutting Wallace and Witherspoon could save the Steelers $8 million, as both contracts are structured the same.

The last time the Steelers made a trade of this significance, they landed All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick. The incomparable safety has been a game-changer from the first snap. Although some initially didn’t view it as such, the three picks cost (first- and fifth-round pick in 2020 and 2021 sixth-round pick) was well worth it. Some would argue that the safeties in the first round of the 2020 draft would never live up to Fitzpatrick’s talent, and thus, it was a steal. There’s no denying that Fitzpatrick and Jalen Ramsey would make an unbeatable backfield duo.

Corner Cameron Sutton, a free agent next month, is a player the Steelers appear interested in securing. Pittsburgh took him in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. Otherwise, the team has a treacherous history of scouting and drafting cornerbacks.

A veteran makes the most sense for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’ll be interesting to see what they do/don’t do with the cornerback position in the coming months.