Steelers To Sign WR Van Jefferson

Making a major switch at quarterback — a matter that cleared up today via the Kenny Pickett trade — the Steelers are in need at wide receiver after moving Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson off the roster. An ex-Robinson teammate will be part of the plan.

The team is bringing in Van Jefferson, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac. Giving Jefferson a one-year deal, Pittsburgh is eyeing the former second-round Rams draftee as a depth piece.

A second-generation NFL receiver, Jefferson is changing teams for the second time in six months. The Rams moved Jefferson’s rookie contract to the Falcons early last season; the deal did not move the needle for an Atlanta team that struggled to find a reliable complement for Drake London at the position. Jefferson, 27, only caught 20 passes for 209 yards between his Rams and Falcons stints last year.

Jefferson’s most notable NFL work came back in 2021, when he helped a Rams team that changed WR2s midseason. Odell Beckham Jr. effectively replaced Robert Woods, with the latter suffering an ACL tear days after the OBJ addition. Jefferson stayed the course and totaled 802 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He added nine receptions for 102 yards in the playoffs, collecting a Super Bowl ring soon after. A knee surgery kept the Florida alum on the shelf for much of 2022. He totaled 369 yards in 11 2022 games — snagging the game-winner in Baker Mayfield‘s memorable debut — for a disappointing Rams team.

The Johnson trade solidifies George Pickens as their top wide receiver. While his long-range work would stand to benefit new QB1 Russell Wilson, the Steelers will add more pieces here. Only slot player Calvin Austin resides as a notable auxiliary option beyond Jefferson. Considering the franchise’s success adding at this position in the draft, that should be considered a mortal lock given this class’ depth.

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