Steelers Bolster Defense Trading for William Jackson III From Commanders

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers remained active all the way up to the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, acquiring cornerback William Jackson III from the Washington Commanders.

The Steelers also received a 2025 conditional seventh-round draft pick, while Washington netted a 2025 conditional sixth-round draft pick in return. Earlier this month, Jackson III expressed his desire to move elsewhere to a scheme that he believed would better suit him. He gets his wish, and should be a contributor in the Steelers’ secondary once he is healthy.

Jackson III, 30, has been out of action since Week 5 with a back injury. In four games, he racked up 16 tackles and two pass defenses. A first-round selection in 2017 by the Houston Texans, Jackson III inked a three-year, $42 million deal with Washington ahead of the 2021 season. His play dipped in Washington following four productive seasons in Cincinnati.

The Steelers, however, need all the help they can get in their secondary. Pittsburgh has surrendered 277.3 yards per game through the air this season, 31st in the NFL. Injuries have been plentiful, with top cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon having missed four games this season.

Steelers Send Top Receiver to Bears

The acquisition of Jackson III followed what was one of the bigger trades across the league. The Steelers traded receiver Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears Tuesday in exchange for a 2023 second-round draft pick.

Pittsburgh reportedly moved off its 2020 second-round selection in an effort to relieve themselves from a “distraction.”

“From what I am hearing and been hearing over the last week the Steelers moved on from what they felt lie was somewhat of a ‘distraction’ behind the scenes,” NFL insider Josina Anderson shared on Twitter. “I’m told the Claypool move has been on the table ‘for at least two weeks,’ per league source.”

Claypool’s production has gradually declined since his rookie season when he hauled in 62 receptions for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. In eight games this season, he has hauled in 32 receptions for 311 yards and a score. Claypool was fourth on the Steelers in receiving behind Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth and George Pickens.