Bengals WR Tyler Boyd discusses the possibility of signing with the rival Steelers as he prepares to enter free agency

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd expected to be asked this question, so it should come as no surprise that he gave a thoughtful answer when asked about signing with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason.

The 29-year-old Boyd has already made a name for himself in Pittsburgh. Boyd, a native of the Pittsburgh area, was informed last week that he will be part of the WPIAL Hall of Fame Class of 2024 in recognition of his stellar high school career at Clairton. Boyd followed his success at the prep level with an exceptional college career at Pitt and a highly successful eight-year tenure with the Bengals.

“You never know,” Boyd told Pittsburgh Sports Now when asked about potentially signing with his hometown team. “I love coach [Mike] Tomlin. He’s probably one of the most genuine people in the business of sports. Obviously, I used to play at Pitt and I had a lot of fights with him and talked to him about football. His personality is like that of a father. It’s a great relationship, but who knows? Even if I don’t go after this year, I can get a one-year deal and maybe even finish out my career, but who knows.”

For the most part, Boyd signing with Pittsburgh makes sense. If the Steelers decide to part ways with Allen Robinson II this offseason, they could be in the market for a new slot receiver. Barring the unexpected, Pittsburgh’s receiving corps next year will include George Pickens, former Pro Bowler Diontae Johnson and Calvin Austin III.

A former No. 1 receiver at Cincinnati, Boyd posted consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2018 and 2019. He accepted a smaller role in 2020 when the Bengals drafted Tee Higgins in the second round, and then drafted Ja’Marr Chase for one year. Later with the fifth overall selection.

Instead of complaining, Boyd embraced his new role, resulting in the Bengals going from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best teams overnight. In 2021, he caught 67 passes for 828 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season, while helping the Bengals win the AFC. Over the past two seasons, he caught a combined 125 passes for 1,429 yards and seven touchdowns.

Despite his success, Boyd is not expected to figure into the Bengals’ plans moving forward as the team must make careful contract decisions after signing Joe Burrow to a record-setting extension last year and Chase and Higgins’ contracts are still up. are also pending.

Boyd’s current market value is currently pegged at three years with an average annual salary of $8.72 million. However, he may make less money depending on which team he signs with.

Boyd will certainly be a welcome addition to a Pittsburgh offense that will have a new offensive coordinator next season. The 2024 season will be an especially big year for Kenny Pickett, who is hoping to prove that he is the Steelers’ long-term answer at quarterback.

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