You don't have to go too far back in history to find a big move made by the Steelers just before the NFL's trade deadline. In fact, it was just a year ago when Pittsburgh pulled off a trade that continues to pay dividends.
Nov. 1, 2022 was a banner day for Omar Khan. Then in his first season as Steelers general manager, Khan was able to make a deal with Chicago that sent underperforming receiver Chase Claypool to the Bears for what turned out to be the 32nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. With that pick, the Steelers selected cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who made the game-winning pick in Week 5 and made several big plays during Sunday's win in Los Angeles.
It'll be hard for Khan to top that deal, but don't be surprised if the man known as the "Khan Artist" tries to anyways. While the Steelers are off to a 4-2 start, there are a few areas that could be improved ahead of the trade deadline. Depth at receiver is one area, especially after Gunner Olszewski's recent release. Pat Freiermuth's current injury situation has created a possible need at tight end. Interior offensive line and cornerback are two other areas the Steelers could try to beef up.
Now that we've set the table, let's take a look at three trades Khan could try to pull off before the NFL's Oct. 31 deadline.
Trade option No. 1
- Terrace Marshall Jr., 2024 seventh-round pick
- 2024 sixth-round pick
Why this makes sense: Carolina has reportedly granted Marshall permission to seek a trade, so it's clear the former second-round pick is no longer in the Panthers' long-term plans. The Steelers could use someone to fill Olszewski's role as a returner/fifth receiving option behind Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson II and Calvin Austin III.
A fresh start might be all the 23-year-old Marshall needs. While he hasn't done much in Carolina, Marshall caught 23 touchdown passes during his final two years at LSU. He caught 13 scores from Joe Burrow in 2019 while helping the Tigers win a national title.
Trade option No. 2
- 2024 sixth-round pick
Zach Ertz initially had this spot, but we pivoted to Hurst after it was reported that Ertz is slated to be placed on injured reserve. A similar player that is three years younger than Ertz, Hurst has surely not produced the way he or the Panthers hoped he would when they signed him to a multiyear deal this offseason. He has just 14 catches this season after catching 52 passes last season for the Bengals.
Hurst is a competitive, sure-handed tight end could add some depth to Pittsburgh's tight end position. He also has playoff experience spanning from his time in Cincinnati and Baltimore.
Carolina would have to cover some of the cost should this trade happen, however, as Hurst is in the first year of a three-year, $21.750 million deal.
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Trade option No. 3
- 2024 second-round pick
A much more likely scenario would be the Steelers acquiring Adoree' Jackson from the Giants for a future late-round pick. But in a best-case scenario, Khan could acquire a top-notch, All-Pro cornerback to pair with Porter, who appears to be a future star.
On paper, this trade makes sense for both parties. The Steelers would acquire an affordable player (Surtain is in the final year of his rookie deal) who can immediately bolster what is currently the league's 25th-ranked pass defense. In return, Denver would get a high draft pick it can use for its rebuild.