‘Shocking Trade’ Proposal Sees Steelers Acquiring Disgruntled Pro Bowl WR

Mike Tomlin

Getty Mike Tomlin's Steelers could emerge as an unlikely destination for Deebo Samuel.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could pull off a “shocking trade” for a notable wide receiver.

As a part of a “shocking trade ideas” list created by Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey, one of the options is the San Francisco 49ers‘ Deebo Samuel. Samuel made headlines when he requested a trade in April. Tansey warned in his May 25 story that a move for Samuel would be “un-Steeler-like” but would also make sense due to the possible inclusion of rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett in the starting lineup.

“A trade for Samuel would be one of the most un-Steeler-like moves we have seen from the franchise in quite some time,” Tansey wrote. “After all, the Steelers moved on from Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, so why would they bring in a wide receiver who is stirring up internal tension where he currently plays?”

Acquiring Samuel would ease Pickett’s transition from college to the NFL and give the Steelers the most potent wide receiver group in the AFC North.

“The upside of a potential Samuel trade is that Pittsburgh would have a loaded wide receiver corps to challenge any of the contenders in the AFC,” Tansey wrote. “A Samuel-Diontae Johnson-Chase Claypool trio would provide a massive boost to Kenny Pickett in his rookie season, and it would hand the Steelers a better wide receiver group than the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.”

Samuel Is NFL’s Most Versatile Receiver

Samuel, 26, is probably the most versatile wide receiver in the NFL. He’s referred to himself as a “wide back” because the 49ers have lined him up as both a wide receiver and as a running back. Samuel caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns last season. He also carried the ball 59 times for 365 yards and eight touchdowns, an NFL single-season record among wide receivers.

According to Pro Football Focus, Samuel posted a 90.2 offensive grade in 2021, ranking third among all receivers in the league. For perspective, Diontae Johnson posted a 73.2 offensive grade and Chase Claypool posted a 67.2 offensive grade last season. Among all receivers, Johnson ranked 45th and Claypool ranked 85th in the league.

In other words, adding a dynamic versatile weapon who is entering the prime of his career would substantially improve the Steelers’ offensive core.

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Why Steelers Likely Won’t Acquire Samuel

As Tansey noted, the Steelers would have to give up draft picks in order to acquire Samuel. To get an idea of what Samuel would cost, the Kansas City Chiefs traded star wide receiver Tyreek Hill in exchange for a first-round pick, second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and a sixth-round pick.

“This deal makes little sense from a realistic standpoint since the Steelers would have to give up a few draft picks in return for Samuel,” Tansey wrote. “The Steelers would not want to do that for obvious reasons with a young squad in place and draft picks likely to add to that new core over the next few years. “

While the Steelers are entering a new era with Omar Khan as their general manager, the franchise was never big on trading high draft picks under departing GM Kevin Colbert, who was with the team for 22 years. It’s unlikely they’ll change that philosophy now given that Khan has been with the Steelers since 2001.

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