Steelers Considered 2 Other Notable QBs Before Signing Russell Wilson

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made big changes at quarterback this offseason.

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After another disappointing year with Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitch Trubisky under center, the team has moved on from all three.

To replace them, the team brought in Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, and Kyle Allen.

The acquisitions of Wilson and Fields have been seen as a major success for the Steelers as they attempt to revitalize their offense, but it seems that they weren’t the only options the team considered.

According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, the team was considering Ryan Tannehill and “gave a cursory look at Kirk Cousins” before they ended up signing Wilson.


Why Both Made Sense for the Steelers

Entering the 2024 offseason, the Steelers had plenty of options to address their quarterback situation.

Cousins and Tannehill both made a lot of sense depending on what the Steelers wanted to accomplish.

The Tannehill fit became very obvious after the Steelers made their decision on their next offensive coordinator.

They hired Arthur Smith, who had been the OC for the Titans during the best seasons of Tannehill’s career.

In Smith’s first year as OC, Tannehill won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl after throwing for 2742 yards and 22 touchdowns while only starting 10 games.

His numbers got even better the next year. He threw for 3819 yards and 33 touchdowns.

The Titans finished fourth in the league in scoring that season.

It’s easy to see why the Steelers were considering reuniting Tannehill and Smith.

Considering Cousins likely had a lot more to do with pure talent than fit.

Cousins isn’t a name that comes up often when talking about the best QBs in the NFL, but he has been producing like one for a while,

Between 2015 and 2022, Cousins threw for at least 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns in seven of eight seasons.

Through the first eight games of 2023, he was on his way to the best season of his career.

In the eight games before he tore his achilles, Cousins threw for 2331 yards and 18 touchdowns. Both of those numbers put him on a 17-game pace that would have led the league.

Cousins was the best quarterback available this offseason, but he was unfortunately priced accordingly. He ended up signing a $180 million deal with the Falcons.

How Different This Offseason Could Have Been

The Steelers are clearly happy with how this offseason has turned out, but it’s interesting to think about how different the offseason could have been if they went with either of these options.

The biggest difference is that Pickett would still be on the team if they signed Tannehill.

In that scenario, the Steelers’ new addition would have been brought in as competition for Pickett. He likely would have gotten 2024 as his last chance to prove he could be the Steelers’ future.

This change wouldn’t have required the Steelers to change anything else they’ve done this offseason, though.

Signing Cousins would have changed everything. If Pickett didn’t like the team’s decision to sign Wilson, he wouldn’t have felt any better about a longer deal for Cousins, so he probably would have still been traded.

That would have left the Steelers looking for a backup other than Fields.

It also would have forced them to get creative with contract restructures to fit Cousins under the cap even with him only carrying a $25 million cap hit in 2024. It also might have kept them from signing Patrick Queen to his $41 million contract.

They also wouldn’t have much space left to address the other needs they currently have on their roster.

With all of the options that were out there at QB for the Steelers this offseason, things could have gone in many different directions for them, but they should be pretty happy with the way everything turned out.

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