Looking back at the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade

Curt Popejoy
·2 min read

On Sunday, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick hauled in two interceptions to help the Steelers blow out the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-3. This performance prompted NFL writer Field Yates to talk a little about the trade that brought Fitzpatrick to the Steelers last season and address those who thought Pittsburgh overpaid.

This got me thinking about this as well as I was cautiously optimistic when the trade happened. A winless team giving up a first-round pick for a safety was risky. Looking back at it you have to consider some of the context of when the trade took place.

The trade took place the day after the Steelers lose franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season with an elbow injury. At the time people were talking about the injury in terms of being a career-ender for Big Ben. Pittsburgh was sitting at 0-2 and the outlook on the season and the future looked bleak.

I think anyone who felt like Pittsburg shouldn’t have made the trade at the moment has to be given a pass when you consider this team might have been in dire need of a quarterback for the following season. Considering the way the league works, it’s hard to argue against the importance of a quarterback over a safety. Fortunately, Roethlisberger returned better than ever and it made the point moot.

In hindsight, the trade turned out to be great in part because the team found a way to finish 8-8 and made the draft pick they traded for was far less desirable. Fans and writers who were critical of the trade at the time shouldn’t take any heat for their opinions, considering they didn’t know how the season would turn out. Fitzpatrick’s talent was never in question but the value of the pick very much was.

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