Analyst Says 9x Pro Bowl QB Would Have to Win Competition if Signed by Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback situation has seemingly shifted in a big way.

Sources: Steelers have interest in Russell Wilson and plan to meet with  veteran QB | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Heading into the week, it seemed the team would be moving ahead with Kenny Pickett as their starting quarterback for the 2024 season despite all of the big names they’ve been linked to.

Now they could be heading in a different direction.

It was revealed that the Steelers are planning to meet with Russell Wilson now that he is being released by the Denver Broncos.

While that would appear to be bad news for Pickett, it seems Wilson might not just be handed the starting job if the Steelers sign him.

On the March 7 episode of “The Rich Eisen Show”, Eisen said that he think Wilson would still need to win a QB competition to get the Steelers’ job.

“Sitting him is just, for Russ, no. If they bring in Russ there’s going to be a competition between Kenny and Russell Wilson and they might even add a third.”

Broncos’ Historic Wilson Decision

Just two years ago, the Broncos thought that a trade for Wilson was going to be the move that pushed them back into Super Bowl contention.

They had featured an impressive defense before acquiring him, but were held back by bad QB play.

That led them to give up Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, Drew Lock, and a ton of draft capital to get Wilson and a fourth rounder.

The move didn’t work out.

The Broncos were awful in their first year with Wilson. They won just 5 games and the offense was among the worst in the NFL.

Much of the blame for the team’s struggles fell on first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired before the end of his first season in charge.

Then they brought in a Super Bowl winner that was supposed to fix the coaching problems. They hired Sean Payton.

Things got better during Wilson’s second year in Denver.

The nine-time Pro Bowler threw 26 touchdown passes in 2023 and had the team in the playoff  race late in the season.

Payton still ended up benching him for the final two games of the season, claiming the offense needed a spark. That spark never came, but the writing was on the wall for Wilson’s time in Denver.

After waiting a couple of months for the situation to be resolved, the Broncos decided on March 5 that they would release Wilson.

When Wilson’s release becomes official, he will leave behind more dead money than any other player in NFL history. The Broncos will be stuck with $85 million in dead cap as a result of the move.

While trading for Wilson didn’t work out for the Broncos, signing him could be a good move for the Steelers.

Why the Steelers Should Sign Him

This might not be a move that gets Steelers fans all that excited because of the way his time in Denver turned out, but that doesn’t really matter.

The fact remains that the Steelers need to do something to get better at quarterback.

As a team the Steelers have only thrown 25 touchdown passes in the last two seasons and one of them was thrown by Chase Claypool.

In that time, Pickett is averaging less than 200 passing yards per game.

Their QB situation is unquestionably the worst in the AFC North.

Signing Wilson wouldn’t move the Steelers into the same conversation as the Ravens and Bengals when it comes to QBs, but he looked better than Deshaun Watson last year.

It also closes the gap a bit.

The Steelers are in a position where they need to start winning soon or the core of their roster will go to waste.

Cameron Heyward could have just one year left in the league. T.J. Watt will turn 30 during the 2024 season and he hasn’t won a playoff game in his career. Diontae Johnson is in the last year of his contract. Minkah Fitzpatrick will be 28 in November. Even Najee Harris could be gone after the 2024 season.

From what we’ve seen of Pickett so far, he doesn’t appear to be the QB to capitalize on all of that talent.

Wilson isn’t the same quarterback he was when he won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks, but he is still enough of an upgrade over Pickett that he could finally get the Steelers another playoff win.

With how cheap he would be for the Steelers to pick up, the move is at least worth a shot.

Otherwise, the team could find themselves still looking for a QB next offseason and with their window to contend with their having shrunk by a year without any results.

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