FOR STEELERS, TIGHT END > CORNERBACK

I wrote a column about the Steelers’ cornerback position. To read, click HERE.

I suggested signing free agent Darrelle Revis. Revis and Willie Gay, the Steelers’ nickel back, are both 32. I guarantee Revis is better.

Since that column’s publication, it’s been reported that Cleveland wants to trade cornerback Joe Haden. Haden is overrated: He’s 28, and has made the Pro Bowl just twice (2013 and ’14) and All-Pro (second team) just once (2013) in seven NFL seasons. But he’s better than Ross Cockrell and Coty Sensabaugh, who are battling for a starting job.

Making a splashy move like signing Revis or trading for Haden isn’t what the Steelers like to do. But maybe it’s what they need to do.

Instead, the Steelers traded for a tight end.

The Steelers got TE Vance McDonald and a fifth-round pick from San Francisco for a fourth-round pick.

McDonald is a big target (6-foot-4, 267 pounds). He started 11 games last year, making 24 catches. McDonald’s cap hit is $4.162m.

McDonald ended 2016 on injured reserve with a bum shoulder, but is said to be OK. Hey, just like Ladarius Green!

That trade reveals the Steelers’ priorities.

The Steelers have a plethora of weapons on offense. But they were subpar at tight end, and think that’s a crucial position. The offense uses the tight end quite a bit, including double-tight formations, and the Steelers simply will not get away from that. So they got McDonald.

Sixty percent of the Steelers’ secondary is below-average. But they don’t prioritize cornerback. They don't consider it an important position. The Steelers will do their best with what they got.

That’s absurd in today’s passing-mad NFL. But that’s what the Steelers think.

Whenever you analyze the Steelers, please realize: They do it, how they do it. They will never get too far away from their long-held preferences.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images
Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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