This Steelers-Cardinals Trade Sends Intriguing Linebacker To Pittsburgh

Isaiah Simmons, Steelers
NFL Analysis Network

The Pittsburgh Steelers have undergone a change in philosophy under general manager Omar Khan. Forever, they were a team that normally sat out free agency for the most part, opting to instead focus on the draft and development of their players. But, these aren’t your parent’s Steelers anymore under Khan.

He has shown a penchant for being aggressive in free agency, plugging holes with veterans early in the process. This offseason the team needed help at linebacker and in the secondary. Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan were all signed.

In the 2023 NFL Draft, Khan made a trade with the New England Patriots to jump up in the first round to select Georgia offensive tackle, Broderick Jones. The fourth-round pick it cost to move from No. 17 was recouped in a trade later on in the draft. In the second round, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. was selected out of Penn State.

Khan did a wonderful job identifying needs and filling them with solid players. Acquiring wide receiver Allen Robinson for a seventh-round pick swap with the Los Angeles Rams may end up being his most impressive coup.

That is, unless another move is made before the 2023 season gets underway that trumps it. One such difference-making acquisition could be Isaiah Simmons of the Arizona Cardinals. The No. 8 pick from the 2020 NFL Draft was named one of the shocking trade ideas for the Steelers to pursue before the season by Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report.

Pittsburgh did add two players at the position this offseason, but they shouldn’t be done overhauling. Devin Bush, Myles Jack and Ryan Spillane all moved on this offseason and Alex Highsmith is set to hit free agency in 2024. Bringing in a potential long-term piece in Simmons would be a great low-risk, high-reward type of move the Steelers like to make.

What could a trade between the Steelers and Cardinals look like? Pittsburgh could offer Arizona a 2024 fourth-round pick and see if they’d bite. Trading Simmons for something would be better than watching him leave for nothing in free agency after the team declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

While Simmons hasn’t quite lived up to expectations of a top-10 pick, his versatility could be better put to use in Pittsburgh, who has a history of getting the most out of defenders. Capable of rushing the passer, playing the run sideline-to-sideline and even dropping into coverage in situations, the former Clemson product is a chess piece coordinator Teryl Austin would love to have.

Still only 24, there is plenty of unlocked potential when it comes to Simmons. A change of scenery and going from the dysfunctional, rebuilding Cardinals to the consistent Steelers could be exactly what he needs to get on track.