The Pittsburgh Steelers are not acting like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whether this is a good thing or not won’t be known for some time but something clearly has them behaving in a manner we are not used to. After trading up for first round pick Devin Bush, the Steelers have pulled the trigger again. This time they’ve traded their 2020 first round selection for Miami defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. If you’re keeping score at home the Steelers now have no first and no third (part of the Bush trade) in next year’s draft. Make no mistake though, the move for Fitzpatrick is not just about this season but for those to come as well.
Here’s the full extent of the trade from Ian Rapoport.
Full terms of the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2019
What to Expect
Fitzpatrick can play either safety position and can also play slot corner if needed. This deal spells the end for Sean Davis (he currently has a torn labrum) who never became the big-time player the Steelers believed he would. Davis is in the final year of his contract and the only way he returns is if he does so on a very team-friendly deal. My assumption however is that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert are ready to move on from him altogether.
Where the Steelers will choose to deploy Fitzpatrick right off the bat I can’t say. The defense Keith Butler uses is known to be complex so it may take a bit for him to get completely acclimated. When you trade a first rounder though, you expect your haul to get on the field in a hurry.
Why This Is a Great Deal
I’ve said this in conversations on Twitter. When you can get a guy that you already know what he’s capable of then that is significantly less risky than drafting a rookie you have less knowledge of. What really makes this trade appealing however is the contract of Fitzpatrick. He is on his rookie deal for this year and the next two before the Steelers can choose to use the fifth year option. His salary for this year is just over one million dollars. From a financial standpoint this is a home run.
Why It Might Not Be
I’m old school – I admit it – because I hate giving up draft picks. I really hate giving up a first round pick. The Steelers will head into the 2020 draft with limited ammunition on the first two days of the draft and that’s always a concern regardless of how good you expect your roster to be. If this season ends miserably and the Steelers would have had a top ten pick? Then the second guessing of this deal will be in high volume.
For now and the future this is a sound financial and on-field investment and that’s all we can judge at this time. Let all of that second guessing begin but I’d prefer we were able to discuss what a tremendous impact Fitzgerald has had. Only time will tell.