The Pittsburgh Steelers are normally a team that does not make any gigantic splashes with trades or signings. This franchise takes pride in making the “quiet” moves and developing players through the NFL Draft. This method sometimes turns out NOT to work, but since Pittsburgh has not had a losing season since 2003, we all can agree this has worked out fairly positively for the franchise
Here are some the best Steelers transactions in the 21st century that really changed the culture of the prestigious franchise:
1) Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers in 2019
In 2019, the Miami Dolphins were not in a position to pay a young star in Minkah Fitzpatrick, so their best outcome of that tough situation was to trade him to Pittsburgh for a first round pick, a fifth round pick, and a sixth round pick. With Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh also received a fourth and seventh round pick.
Looking back at this trade almost three years later, it was a FLEECE. Fitzpatrick has been a Pro Bowler two out of his three seasons with Pittsburgh. On top of that, he is also a 2x All-Pro. Fitzpatrick was only targeted 26 times in that season while only giving up 2 total touchdowns. Last year was not his best, but by no means was it a “bad” season. There are tons of players that wish their down season were giving up 404 yards and 2 total touchdowns with a completion percentage of 62.5%.
Just last month in June, Fitzpatrick signed a contract with Pittsburgh worth $73.6 million with $36 million of that guaranteed. With him not being a UFA until 2027, the time for Pittsburgh’s defense is now. In arguably the best season he has put together in 2020, he had a completion percentage against him of only 50%.
2) Steelers Antonio Brown To The Raiders
Pittsburgh trading Antonio Brown saved this franchise from a mess. In 2019, Pittsburgh sent Brown to the then Oakland Raiders for a third round pick and fifth round pick. The Raiders received Brown and also agreed to a contract with the wide receiver.
In talks of a culture change, this trade was significant. The Steelers needed guys who wanted to play football and win, not players who cause drama off the field. It is possible that if Brown stayed with the Steelers, things could have been different, but that is no bet to gamble on. We saw how things turned out with Brown when he later joined the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the time, Steelers were confident in their younger WR’s and that made it alright to let go of Brown. Since getting traded away, Brown has a total of 1,084 yards and nine touchdowns in his three seasons not as a Steeler.
3) Steelers trading up for Troy Polamalu
Going into the 2003 NFL Draft, the Steelers had the 27th overall pick. However, that was not going to land eventual Hall of Fame player, Troy Polamalu. The Pittsburgh Steelers traded 11 spots and selected Polamalu with the 16th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Not only was Polamalu the heartbeat of the defense for all 12 years of his career, but he also put up crazy stats while playing.
Polamalu was an 8x Pro Bowler, 4x All-Pro, the 2010 AP Defensive Player of the Year, and of course, a 2x champion. Opposing offenses were scared of Polamalu every single week of the season. One NSFW great story about Polamalu was on The Pat McAfee Show back in 2017. In this story, it is clear how much players feared the great defensive player who did everything for his team.
What do yinz think has been the biggest transaction by the Steelers in the 21st century? Click to comment below!