UPDATE: Mims has been traded to the Detroit Lions, per Connor Hughes of SNY.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver room appears pretty much set, but an intriguing name could potentially hit the market soon in New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims. The Jets are reportedly trying to trade Mims, but it’s more likely that he will be waived.
Matt Lombardo of Heavy on Sports said the Steelers could be in the mix for Mims. On the surface, it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Pittsburgh traded for Allen Robinson II and has Calvin Austin III returning from injury, so there doesn’t appear to be a clear fit for Mims on Pittsburgh’s roster.
However, he played at Baylor from 2016-2019, and his wide receivers coach during the last of those two seasons was Frisman Jackson, currently Pittsburgh’s wide receivers coach. Under Jackson, Mims had 121 receptions for 1,814 yards and 20 touchdowns in 25 games. That led to the Jets selecting him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Mims hasn’t had a lot of success at the NFL level, with just 42 receptions for 676 yards and no touchdowns in three seasons. He’s dealt with substandard quarterback play, with his two primary quarterbacks in New York being Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson. A return to Jackson coupled with improved quarterback play with Kenny Pickett could lead to Mims living up to his draft status.
So it’s certainly plausible Pittsburgh could be interested in adding some competition at a low price. Mims has a 2023 base salary of $1,350,958 so it’s not as if Pittsburgh would be paying for any sort of premium production. With 4.38 speed, he could add another deep threat to an offense that has struggled with generating explosive plays, and at 6’3, 207 pounds he adds another option on the outside behind Diontae Johnson and George Pickens.
Without the Jackson connection, I doubt Pittsburgh would have much, if any, interest in Mims. But he’s a project and returning to a coach who knows him well could elevate his game and make him a useful player, even in a limited capacity.
Lombardo also reported that the New England Patriots have interest in Mims, and New England is ahead of Pittsburgh in the waiver order. So if the Steelers are serious about acquiring him, they could do so via trade. It would likely be a swap of late-round picks plus Mims. Something like a sixth-rounder for Mims and a seventh could do the trick, or even a conditional late-round pick if Mims is to make the roster or reach a certain statistical threshold.
I think it’s unlikely Pittsburgh adds Mims, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. His salary is easy to absorb and the Jackson connection could make him an interesting add. His status with the Jets should be decided soon, so we’ll likely have a resolution to where he plays in 2023 within the week.