The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team ready to rebound from their playoff-less last two seasons.
Roethlisberger, to some degree, has a better overall receiving corps, which should allow him to have better numbers.
Pittsburgh will head into the season with the second-best receiver in the league last season, Antonio Brown, and have Markus Wheaton set to replace Emmanuel Sanders, with Lance Moore serving as the slot wideout. However, the Steelers are still lacking the big playmaker.
Sure, perhaps I’m overlooking Brown, who’s certainly a dynamic player in his own right, but Pittsburgh is still minus a large target for Big Ben, and considering teams in their division – like Baltimore and Cincinnati – own deep, talented units of receivers, Pittsburgh, in the future, needs to address this minor hole, because it could be that one move preventing them from reaching the next level.
Back when Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl in 2006, Roethlisberger had the ever-reliable Hines Ward, a young Santonio Holmes, and a stout third wideout in Nate Washington to heave the pigskin to. And in 2009, when the Steelers won their second Vince Lombardi trophy in three years, Roethlisberger had Holmes, Ward, and Mike Wallace. Comparing their current receiving corps to those two, the Steelers were way denser in those years at receiver.
Getting back to that effective model is in the Steelers best interest.
While a signing/trade doesn’t necessarily have to occur at the moment, what if the Steelers looked into acquiring Arizona Cardinals’ star wideout Larry Fitzgerald? It’s not as ludicrous as it may sound.
Arizona just got done signing cornerback Patrick Peterson to a massive five-year, $70.05 million contract this past summer, and it leaves them with little wiggle room for future endeavors. The Cardinals will have $32,564,965 million come off the books in 2015, but you figure half of that will go to Carson Palmer, whose apart of that cash-shed.
The Cardinals, although they’d be losing a great player in Fitzgerald, have to realize he just turned 31, and by ’15, there’ll be a plethora of talented wide receivers hitting the open market capable of replacing him. Not to mention, Arizona may have found a gem in their third-round draft pick, John Brown, who had 10 catches for 175 yards and one touchdown in three of the four preseason games. And, of course, Michael Floyd, who can undoubtedly be a No. 1 wideout for the Cards.
Fitzgerald also played his college ball at the University of Pittsburgh, and Arizona’s head coach, Bruce Arians, was the offensive coordinator for the Steelers during their glory days of the late 2000’s.
The New England Patriots were speculated as the first team – that we know of – to ask about Fitzgerald’s availability, but saw nothing there when Arizona said he’s not for sale. However, if I were the Cards, I’d reconsider that reluctance.
Sometimes, organizations get too caught up in the name rather than the big picture, but for the betterment of both teams (Cardinals, Steelers), this trade works. It provides Arizona with better financial flexibility and Pittsburgh with that one player they need to push through that threshold.
This obviously won’t happen during the season, but come next March, depending on how each team finishes, I could see this surfacing. It’ll all come down to Cards’ general manager Steve Keim’s willingness to dangle the possibility.
Brown, Fitzgerald, Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant – Roethlisberger would be salivating.