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Could Steelers Make WR Splash After Diontae Johnson Trade?

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a wide receiver, and there are two big names in free agency they could target.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers finalized a trade, sending wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson. 

The move meant the end of their longest-tenured receiver but also created a huge hole in the offense. Johnson started 67 games over the course of his five-year career in Pittsburgh, and now, the team is left with just George Pickens, Calvin Austin and Miles Boykin as their only receivers who spent time on the 53-man roster last season. 

So, what's the next move? The Steelers will likely look to add a veteran through free agency and a rookie through the NFL Draft. Many expect them to move the position up their draft board, possibly reaching for one in the first round. 

On the open market, there are options. This brings up the question: will Pittsburgh make a splash in free agency? So far, they've gone big with the signings of Russell Wilson and Patrick Queen, and if their recent activity indicates anything, it may be that fans should increase their expectations for their next signing. 

The two names that pop off the list of free agents are Tyler Boyd and Calvin Ridley. Boyd has a connection to Pittsburgh, playing at Pitt while also being from the city. Ridley, on the other hand, holds no connection to the Steelers but would be the biggest name they could sign on the open market. 

Ridley, 29, is coming off a 1,000-yard season with eight touchdowns. His market value is currently at four years, worth $70 million with an average salary of $17.5 million. 

Boyd's market value is three years for $26 million, with an average salary of $8.7 million.

The Steelers are sitting somewhere in the ballpark of $17.9 million in available cap space, but could create plenty more with restructures to T.J. Watt's, Minkah Fitzpatrick's and Alex Highsmith's contracts, as well as extending Cam Heyward. 

At this point, don't rule anything out when it comes to the Steelers. Maybe their wide receiver splash will come in the former of a first-round draft pick. But maybe it'll be a big-name signing or two in free agency. 

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