Steelers sending WR Diontae Johnson to Carolina for DB Donte Jackson, AP source says

Tue, Mar 12, 2024
NFL News (AP)

Steelers sending WR Diontae Johnson to Carolina for DB Donte Jackson, AP source says

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Carolina Panthers gave quarterback Bryce Young the No. 1 wide receiver he's been lacking, acquiring Diontae Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday for cornerback Donte Jackson.

The deal includes the teams swapping later-round picks in this year's draft. The Steelers will get Carolina's pick at No. 178 while the Panthers will get Pittsburgh's selection at No. 240, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because it has not been made official.

Johnson, 28, has 391 receptions for 4,363 yards and 25 touchdowns in five seasons with the Steelers. He is entering the final season of a two-year extension he signed in August of 2022. Johnson, a Pro Bowler in 2021, is scheduled to make $10 million this season, with $3 million due as a roster bonus later this week.

The Panthers will gladly pay that bonus to give Young an elite route runner. Carolina finished last in the league in yards passing during a 2-15 season in 2023, with Adam Thielen often the only legitimate receiving threat on the field.

That changes with Johnson in the fold, though his numbers dipped a bit last season. He suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener and was limited to 13 games, one of the reasons he finished with a career-low 51 receptions. He was also overshadowed at times by George Pickens, who developed into the preferred downfield threat for quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph.

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The trade leaves Pickens as the most accomplished wide receiver on the Steelers' roster after they released Allen Robinson II last Friday. Pittsburgh will likely look to add another big-time target in free agency or the draft after the club agreed to terms with nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson late Sunday night.

Notable wide receivers still looking for work as of Tuesday night included Cincinnati's Tyler Boyd, who starred at the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted by the Bengals in 2016.

The Steelers needed help in the secondary after cutting veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Keanu Neal. The 28-year-old Jackson has started 76 games across six seasons with the Panthers, who took him in the second round of the 2018 draft.

Jackson has 14 career interceptions, although he didn't have a pick last season. He provides an experienced corner opposite Joey Porter Jr., who had a standout rookie season in 2023.

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AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

WILL GRAVES Graves is a national writer for The Associated Press, based in Pittsburgh. He covers the NFL, MLB, NHL, the Olympics and major college sports. twitter facebook mailto "
Article Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
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