Steelers Turn Heads With Reported Plan to Meet With Former $242 Million QB

Who might start at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2024 season changes by the day. On March 7, veteran signal caller Russell Wilson made a move into the front runner position.

Mike Tomlin Russell Wilson

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported that the Steelers “are interested in signing” the veteran quarterback and “are tentatively planning to meet” with Wilson before free agency begins on March 13.

Dulac added in his report on X (formerly Twitter) that Wilson “has interest” in joining the Steelers.

Obviously, that report generated quite the reaction on social media. The Score’s Daniel Valente supported the notion of signing Wilson.

“Let’s ride yinz,” wrote Valente.

Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora wasn’t necessarily against the idea completely. But he offered a little more caution.

“Not convinced he’ll sign for vet min like many thing he will,” Kozora wrote. “What’s the 2025 plan?”

Wilson spent the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos. Denver acquired Wilson with a draft pick from the Seattle Seahawks for five draft picks, including two first-round selections, and three starters.

Before playing his first game for the Broncos, Denver signed Wilson to a 5-year, $242.6 million contract.

But Wilson did not play at the same level in Denver he had throughout his career in Seattle. On March 4, the Broncos announced they told Wilson he will be released after the new league year begins on March 13.

Cutting Wilson will give Denver a $85 million in dead cap money.

Steelers Plan to Meet With QB Russell Wilson: Report

Wilson has been one of a few quarterbacks who have repeatedly been linked to the Steelers this offseason. But Pittsburgh’s scheduled meeting with Wilson is the first time the team has publicly expressed interest in the veteran quarterback.

Wilson made nine Pro Bowls and second-team All-Pro in 2019 during 10 seasons with the Seahawks. From 2012-20, he didn’t posted a losing season.

Even though Wilson has registered a 17-27 record over the past three seasons, it seems unlikely that a quarterback with that resume would join a team not as a starter. That’s particularly true with free agency yet to even officially begin.

“Hard to see him truly complete,” Kozora wrote of Wilson. “I don’t think he’d sign somewhere quickly without feeling confident he’d be the starter. Even if he signs for cheap.”

With that in mind, it’s worth wondering how Wilson signing in Pittsburgh would impact quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph.

“[Signing Wilson] would mean they are not firmly convinced Pickett is the quarterback to immediately get them into the postseason and make a run in the playoffs, even though the Steelers haven’t won a playoff game in a franchise-record seven years,” wrote Dulac.

“And it is not clear what it would mean for Mason Rudolph, who is an unrestricted free agent and amenable to returning for his sixth season if given a chance to compete for the starting position. Rudolph might opt to go elsewhere if the Steelers would sign Wilson.”

Dulac added that Wilson’s addition wouldn’t necessarily mean he will start. But it would certainly be a challenge for Pickett.

In his postseason press conference on January 18, head coach Mike Tomlin stressed that the team expects Pickett to have to compete for the starting job in 2024.

Dulac also reported that Wilson is already speaking with at least one other team.

Social Media Reacts to Steelers Plan to Meet With Wilson

Wilson is an intriguing free agent option this offseason also because of his past Broncos contract. He will already make $40 million from Denver this season. So theoretically, Wilson could sign with a team for league minimum for the 2024 season and still be one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.

However, it’s not clear if Wilson has an interest in doing that. Agreeing to play on a league-minimum salary could impact his 2025 contract.

The Steelers may also prefer to sign Wilson, who turned 35 in November, to a multi-year contract.

On March 7, social media weighed in on all the factors involved with Wilson and the Steelers.

“Sign Russ for a year,” DeCarlo Smith wrote on X. “Let Kenny train under him.”

By 2025, though, Pickett will be 27 and entering the final year of his rookie contract.

“But you’ll have to decided on Kenny’s 5th year option next offseason and he didn’t play? Lol,” wrote Jonathan Armistead.

That, of course, assumes that the Steelers haven’t already made their decision with Pickett.

“The fact that they’re even meeting with him tells you exactly where they stand on Kenny despite public coach/GM speak,” wrote MinkahBurgh Steelers.

If Wilson struggles in Pittsburgh as he has the past two seasons, the Steelers could turn back to Pickett. But that could be a reason why Wilson will expect more money than league minimum.

“Easier to be benched without any money in him,” Kozora wrote. “You want a team financially invested in you too.”

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