The biggest question mark for the Pittsburgh Steelers is their No. 2 wide receiver, with no legitimate option behind George Pickens. While Calvin Austin III, Van Jefferson or someone like Quez Watkins or rookie Roman Wilson could try and step into that role, none of those names are super intriguing and they certainly aren’t proven. Appearing on 93.7 The Fan, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly said that not addressing the wide receiver position better might wind up being a mistake for the Steelers.

“The free agency market’s garbage right now,” Kaboly said, adding that bringing in someone like Michael Thomas is just “throwing something against the wall.”

While noting that adding a player who gets cut late in the process is a possibility, he’s skeptical about just how good that player would be.

“I guess there’s time to see if anybody gets cut, but even if somebody gets cut September 1 or August 29, whenever that final cut day is, that guy’s probably not gonna be better than what you already have,” Kaboly said. “So unless they can somehow pull off the trade at the end of training camp, I think they might’ve have made a little bit of a mistake here. They tried to get a No. 2, but it hasn’t worked out as well as they anticipated, and we could be looking back on this in a couple of months and saying that was the difference right there. They needed that number two to get George Pickens free, and right now I don’t think they have that.”

Anybody who gets cut probably won’t be much of an upgrade late in the process. While a veteran like Robert Woods could get squeezed out from a loaded receiving corps in Houston, he’s really only a slightly better option than what Pittsburgh has. It doesn’t seem like the team will make a trade for a legitimate No. 2 receiver at this point. Come training camp, things could heat up there, although it still just doesn’t seem likely the Steelers will add someone like Brandon Aiyuk or Courtland Sutton.

Really, that leaves the in-house options who are going to have to step up. Austin got some praise from Roman Wilson for being a leader in the room. His speed makes him an intriguing candidate although his catch radius needs to improve, especially given his lack of size. Jefferson seems the most likely in-house candidate to be the team’s WR2. He had over 800 yards with the Los Angeles Rams back in 2021 although he’s come nowhere close to that number since.

The WR2 battle will play out during training camp, and if the Steelers aren’t satisfied with what they have on the roster, then adding someone who gets cut or getting more aggressive in pursuit of a trade is likely. The Steelers built their roster to win this season, and not having a reliable second receiver could be a major crux as the team looks to get back to the postseason.

While tight end Pat Freiermuth will likely see the second-most targets on the team, another receiver option on the outside can help take coverage away from Pickens, which would also help bolster Pittsburgh’s passing offense. We’ll see in the coming weeks if someone on the roster will step up, or if Pittsburgh is going to have to go outside the organization to find a capable second receiver.


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