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After weeks of speculation, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Pittsburgh is dealing the veteran playmaker to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson, according to NFL Media. Along with Johnson, the Panthers will reportedly receive the Steelers' 240th overall pick in the draft, while Pittsburgh will receive Carolina's 178th overall pick. 

Both teams benefitted from this trade: The Panthers get a seasoned wideout to pair with second-year quarterback Bryce Young; the Steelers acquire a starting-caliber cornerback while parting ways with a player who no longer appeared to be in their long-term plans. 

Johnson, 27, has led the Steelers in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches since being selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He earned his first Pro Bowl nod after catching 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns (all career highs) during the 2021 season, which was Ben Roethlisberger's last in Pittsburgh. 

Johnson's numbers dropped off during his final two years with the Steelers, though. He didn't catch a touchdown pass in 2022 and last season had his lowest receiving total last season since his rookie campaign. He did catch five touchdowns in 2023 while helping Pittsburgh clinch a playoff berth. 

Like Johnson, Jackson is a part of the 2018 draft class. A second-round pick in that draft, Jackson made 76 starts in 80 regular-season games for the Panthers. He had at least two picks in each of his first five seasons before that streak was snapped last season. In all, Jackson has 14 career picks, 46 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and 303 tackles.

So, who won this trade? Find out by checking out our grades for both teams.

Panthers receive:

Diontae Johnson
CAR • WR • #5
REC YDs717
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  • 240th pick in 2024 NFL Draft

While Johnson is good, he had several locker-room issues this past season that likely contributed to the Steelers being open to trading him. But he's nonetheless a productive player who could help Bryce Young. Based on his social media posts since being traded, it looks like Johnson is bringing a positive attitude with him to Carolina. 

Johnson is entering the final year of his current contract, so he will surely motivated to play well in 2024. This should lead to good things for the Panthers. 

Carolina trade grade:

Steelers receive:

  • 178th pick in 2024 NFL Draft

The Steelers improved their draft stock and were able to get a starting-caliber cornerback in the 28-year-old Jackson, who has played on the outside his entire career. The addition of Jackson helps fill another void on the Steelers' depth chart. 

Furthermore, the Steelers moving up to the 178th pick is big. It allows them to be in better position to address some of their current needs that include receiver (Pittsburgh also parted ways with wideout Allen Robinson II this offseason), center, offensive tackle and in the secondary. 

Pittsburgh trade grade: A