Eleven wins on the trot is the stuff legends are made of, but the Pittsburgh Steelers ultimately crashed down to earth in their 12th game of the season last year.
In 2021, the Steelers played one game before facing defeat, with 'it be like that sometimes' the theme of their year so far. If 2021 is going to be the Super Bowl season Steelers fans are hoping for, additions need to be made mid-season.
Luckily for the Steelers, there are plenty of trade options out there that could bolster the team. Here are three players the Steelers should make a move for by mid-season.
Pittsburgh Steelers signings that should go through by mid-season
#1 - Cory Littleton, LB, Las Vegas Raiders
Cory Littleton has had bright spots in his career, but he's also working through some dark times.
After lighting it up with the Los Angeles Rams, Littleton went to Las Vegas, where he struggled mightily. The linebacker averaged about a 65.0 PFF grade over his first four seasons in Los Angeles. In Las Vegas, though, he took a Jedi-sized leap back.
While he was good for about a 65.0 PFF grade in California, he earned a 47.1 PFF grade in 2020 and is sitting at a 30.4 PFF grade in 2021. The Raiders just adjusted his contract to make cap room and pushed his payday to next season.
The Raiders are essentially locked in with the linebacker for the near future. That is, unless the Steelers make a move.
Since T.J. Watt, Marcus Allen and Alex Highsmith have run into injury issues, it makes sense to bolster the linebacker room. The Steelers' defense could find a spot for him as a backup player.
If something were to happen to any of the linebackers, they would have a backup with plenty of starting experience. The trade seems like a win-win for both the Steelers and the Raiders.
#2 - Ronald Darby, CB, Denver Broncos
At this point, it's clear the Steelers defense may have to do more than its fair share to get the offense to the Super Bowl. The Broncos have amazing depth at cornerback and an up-and-coming star in Patrick Surtain. Their backfield currently has Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Bryce Callahan and Patrick Surtain.
Granted, Darby is currently working through a hamstring tear and is currently on injured reserve at this point. But the Steelers don't exactly need help making the playoffs; they need help with going one step further.
They won't need him until January. The Steelers will also have to wait to trade for the cornerback until he's healthy, per NFL rules.
Darby is expected to be back by mid-season so a trade could theoretically be on the table. Darby fits in with the Steelers as a depth cornerback who could join Joe Haden, Cameron Sutton and Ahkello Witherspoon to form a nasty secondary that could lock down even the most explosive passing offenses (looking at you, Chiefs).
In a offense-centric league like the NFL, it takes even more weapons on defense to get by. By adding Ronald Darby to the squad, the Steelers could be that much closer to surviving until February.
#3 - Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Mike Davis is the starting running back for the Atlanta Falcons, an experimental pickup for a franchise that needed a solution after parting ways with Todd Gurley.
Last season, Davis had a solid year as a backup in Carolina. He earned 642 yards on the ground and eight total touchdowns. Add his rushing numbers to his receiving totals and you can see that he was was a 1,000-yard back in 2020.
If the Steelers could add some insurance behind Najee Harris, they would be much better equipped for a deep playoff run. With Davis, the Steelers could have two Le'Veon Bell-type players, assuming Harris works out and Davis keeps pace.
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Of course, the Falcons aren't going to trade their starting running back in Week 3 of the NFL season. But if the trade deadline draws near and it's clear the Falcons aren't going anywhere in 2021, they could be tempted to part with some of their players as they prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft. That would be when the Steelers could strike with an offer.