In return the Jets receive Pittsburgh’s fifth round pick in the 2022 draft.
Analysis for the Steelers
For Pittsburgh, this is a nice pick up to help mitigate the loss of inside linebacker Devin Bush to a torn ACL in week 6. The Steelers franchise has been based around an intimidating defense for decades and this season the unit is living up to that reputation. The loss of Bush may not have been that devastating for a unit whose linebacker corps still includes Vince Williams and pass rushers Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt but it certainly provides veteran insurance for the team.
Williamson is also a good pickup for the team whether he starts or not. Backup second year player Robert Spillane led the Steelers in tackles against the Ravens this past weekend and having Williamson on the roster provides the team with more options of Spillane struggles to replicate that level of production weekly or gets injured himself.
At age 28 and with 3 seasons in which he has accumulated over 100 total tackles in that year, Williamson is no slouch either and likely will be pushing for a starting spot within a few weeks, if not sooner. He also comes relatively cheap for Pittsburgh with a cap hit of just $1.4 million according to OverTheCap.com. He’s likely to be just a one year rental but that’s no issue for the Steelers who are in win now mode.
Analysis for the Jets
This continues the yard sale of veteran talent being conducted by the Jets general manager Joe Douglas. Free agent signings by the previous front office regime such as Le’Veon Bell and Williamson are being moved in exchange for draft capital to help rebuild this franchise.
The departure of Williamson leaves a gaping hole at the inside linebacker position on Gregg Williams’ defense though given the performance of the team through the first eight weeks it makes sense to shop what assets the roster does have and give playing time to younger, unproven talent so the front office can fully assess what players they want to hang on to for the future.
Some Jets fans may grumble that the compensation for Williamson isn’t immediate in that it can’t be cashed in during next year’s draft, but the rebuilding of the Jets roster is going to be a multi year project so even compensation which is nearly 2 years away will be crucial for the franchise.