There are two moves the Pittsburgh Steelers absolutely need to make before the start of the 2022 season.
And they both have to do with the offensive side of the ball.
First off, the Steelers need to sign free-agent offensive lineman Eric Fisher. I mean seriously, why haven’t they done this already?
Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, is just a year removed from a Pro-Bowl season. The 31-year-old offensive lineman tore his Achilles in the 2021 AFC Championship game which led to him being released by the Kansas City Chiefs. Fisher signed with the Indianapolis Colts last spring and struggled a bit as he returned from his injury.
The former Central Michigan standout, however, has a long track record of success. And he played well at the end of the 2021 season. The Steelers have an obvious need along their offensive line and Fisher is available. It’s a match made in football heaven.
The next move the Steelers need to make is to extend wide receiver Diontae Johnson.
Johnson is set to be a free agent after the 2022 season. The former Toledo standout had a breakout season in 2021, catching 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games.
This is the type of player the Steelers need in their offense for a long time to come. Wide receivers are only getting more expensive. And while there’s no doubt that Pittsburgh will probably have to overpay a bit for Johnson, he’s worth it.
Pittsburgh has a true No. 1 wide receiver in Johnson, something that plenty of other teams would love to have (looking at you, Bears and Packers). If the Steelers don’t extend Johnson, then they’re left with Chase Claypool and a potential extension. We’ve already heard Claypool say that he feels he’s a top-three NFL wide receiver (he’s not, by the way), so we know he won’t be giving the Steelers or anyone else a discount.
Chances are high that Claypool hits free agency and a team severely overpays (maybe the Jaguars, since they’re the ones truly responsible for the wide receiver market exploding after giving Christian Kirk a mega-deal).
The Steelers would be smarter to tie themselves to Johnson and not Claypool. Neither will be cheap, but extending Johnson is the wiser move. And they need to do it now before wide receivers get even more expensive. If Johnson explodes for 1,400 yards in Matt Canada’s offense in 2022, then Pittsburgh might decide he’s too pricey. And then they’re left dealing with Claypool, which isn’t a scenario that bodes well for the Steelers.
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