Carolina Panthers Bolster Offense: Acquire Diontae Johnson from Steelers

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The Carolina Panthers have addressed a critical gap in their offensive lineup by acquiring Diontae Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson. This trade, executed on Tuesday, also involves the teams exchanging later-round picks in the upcoming draft.

According to sources familiar with the transaction, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to its unofficial status, the Steelers will receive Carolina’s pick at No. 178, while the Panthers will gain Pittsburgh’s selection at No. 240.

Johnson, 28, brings a formidable record with him, boasting 391 receptions for 4,363 yards and 25 touchdowns accumulated over five seasons with the Steelers. Currently in the final year of a two-year extension signed in August 2022, Johnson is set to earn $10 million this season, including a $3 million roster bonus due imminently.

The Panthers eagerly anticipate utilizing Johnson’s talents to enhance quarterback Bryce Young’s receiving options, especially after a lackluster 2023 season where they ranked last in passing yards. Adam Thielen often carried the burden of being the sole significant receiving threat on the field.

Despite Johnson’s slightly diminished performance last season due to injury, limiting him to 13 games and resulting in a career-low 51 receptions, his addition significantly strengthens the Panthers’ offensive arsenal. Notably, George Pickens occasionally overshadowed Johnson, emerging as a preferred downfield target for quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph.

Steelers Bolster Secondary with Diontae Johnson Acquisition

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The Carolina Panthers have addressed a critical gap in their offensive lineup by acquiring Diontae Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson.

With Johnson’s departure, Pickens became the Steelers’ top wide receiver, especially after the recent release of Allen Robinson II. Pittsburgh may now seek additional receiving talent in free agency or through the draft, following the acquisition of nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson.

Meanwhile, notable wide receivers still available in the market include Tyler Boyd from Cincinnati, who originally hails from the University of Pittsburgh and entered the NFL in 2016.

The Steelers, having parted with Johnson, focused on fortifying their secondary following the releases of veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Keanu Neal. In exchange for Johnson, they acquired 28-year-old cornerback Donte Jackson, who has started 76 games over six seasons with the Panthers, joining the team as a second-round draft pick in 2018.

Jackson, known for his 14 career interceptions, adds experience to the Steelers’ defensive lineup, complementing standout rookie Joey Porter Jr., who made his mark during the 2023 season.

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