PITTSBURGH -- Maybe the perfect deal will eventually come around.
But for a team that often drafts well in the late rounds, the Pittsburgh Steelers should refrain from trading for veteran cornerback help for the third consecutive year.
It's time. Their draft picks are too precious.
The Steelers' release of former top-10 pick Justin Gilbert signifies a net loss over a two-trade span. Basically, they gave up fifth- and sixth-round picks in exchange for 28 tackles and five pass deflections.
Most of that production came from cornerback Brandon Boykin, who sat on the bench for much of 2015, then manned the slot late in the season but didn't return in free agency. It's hard to knock the Boykin trade because the Steelers had a glaring need and Boykin wanted out of Philadelphia. A fifth-rounder in 2016 made that happen.
Gilbert, with his athleticism and impressive footwork, never graduated from the guy who looks good in drills but not in situational football. The Steelers knew Gilbert's risks when they acquired him last August. And there are ways around his $2.2 million cap hit. But Gilbert's rep in Cleveland was so scarred that the Steelers would've been better served using that 2018 sixth-rounder on a developmental corner. Recent late-round picks Anthony Chickillo, Dan McCullers, Vince Williams and L.T. Walton contributed to the Steelers' 2016 defense.
There's a nucleus in place with corners Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell and safeties Sean Davis and Mike Mitchell. No need to stretch anymore. William Gay is an option in the slot and if the team decides to move on and get younger at this spot, perhaps it can finally count on oft-injured Senquez Golson.
Add a draft pick or two and this group has a chance to be stout in 2017.
Without someone else's baggage.