Steelers Urged to Pursue Former $33 Million QB

The Pittsburgh Steelers could be in the quarterback market when free agency begins in March. But while the team could use an upgrade behind center, the Steelers are likely to pursue signal callers who will compete, not replace, former first-round pick Kenny Pickett. An ideal quarterback for that role could be veteran Baker Mayfield.

Kenny Pickett Mitch Trubisky Baker Mayfield

Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness named Mayfield the one free agent the Steelers should pursue during the upcoming offseason.

“It feels very likely that Mayfield will stick around with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but on the off chance that he does hit free agency, the Steelers should be the first team to pick up the phone,” McGuinness wrote. “While Mayfield hasn’t lived up to the billing of being a former No. 1 overall pick, he is back at the level of his second and third seasons with the Cleveland Browns, earning a 74.6 PFF grade with 25 big-time throws and 24 turnover-worthy plays in the 2023 regular season.”

The Cleveland Browns selected Mayfield first overall in the 2018 NFL draft. As the No. 1 pick, he signed a four-year deal worth about $32.7 million before his rookie season.

Mayfield led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 9-8 record with 4,044 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions during 2023.

Why Baker Mayfield Could Fit With the Pittsburgh Steelers

ESPN’s Marcus Spears floated Kirk Cousins as an option for the Steelers while several NFL pundits have connected Pittsburgh to fellow veteran Russell Wilson.

But those quarterbacks don’t make sense for the Steelers unless the team is willing to move on from Pickett. That’s not the organization’s current plan based on what head coach Mike Tomlin said during his post-season press conference.

“I’m appreciative of his efforts and where he is and excited about continuing to work with him,” Tomlin told reporters on January 18. “But certainly, he will be challenged from a competition perspective moving forward.

“Competition brings the best out in all of us.”

Cousins and Wilson wouldn’t be competition. They would make Pickett the clear backup.

Mayfield played like a starter toward the end of 2023, but that was, by far, his best stretch in years. Depending on the type of deal he receives in free agency, he may still need to compete to remain a starter in 2024.

But unlike most of the other free agent quarterbacks available, Mayfield is a potential upgrade over Pickett if he fulfills his upside as he did in the playoffs.

Mayfield threw for 686 yards in his two playoff starts this season.

Mayfield Returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

The 28-year-old is an intriguing potential target for the Steelers. But the question is whether or not he will be available.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler guessed that he wouldn’t be. Fowler projected on January 24 that the Buccaneers will re-sign Mayfield.

“I’m not sure it makes sense to go after someone else like Russell Wilson or Justin Fields when I’m not sure that’s a substantial upgrade,” an NFC personnel evaluator told Fowler. “Mayfield isn’t perfect, but you can win games with him. He’s streaky, but when he gets hot, he can produce like a top-10 guy.”

Mayfield is 40-46 as an NFL starter in his career. He has completed 61.9% of his passes while averaging 7.2 yards per attempt for 130 touchdowns and 74 interceptions.

If Mayfield doesn’t reach the open market, an older veteran such as Ryan Tannehill could become another potential target for the Steelers.

Related Posts

Mike McCarthy discusses what he expects from Ezekiel Elliott

UDFA QB John Rhys Plumlee Reveals Why He Chose Steelers

With John Rhys Plumlee seeing action at wide receiver at UCF, there was speculation that he could play wide receiver in the NFL, but he put that…

Zach Frazier explains wearing No. 54 with Pittsburgh Steelers

Zach Frazier can’t help his toughness. It’s embedded in his soul. The Steelers rookie loved Pittsburgh’s physical style of play when he was growing up in West Virginia….

Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell Strikes Down Scrutiny Facing Rookie J.J. McCarthy

Thіѕ ѕtаɡe of the NFL offѕeаѕon іѕ fіlled wіth hіɡhlіɡhtѕ аnd lowlіɡhtѕ of pаdleѕѕ prаctіceѕ — whіch Mіnneѕotа Vіkіnɡѕ coаch Kevіn O’Connell аrɡued to not reаd too…

Justin Simmons has 1 classy request to fans about Broncos rookie

The Denver Broncoѕ hаve ɡotten themѕelveѕ іnto а trіcky cаp ѕіtuаtіon. Denver trаded ѕіɡnіfіcаnt аѕѕetѕ for QB Ruѕѕell Wіlѕon from the Seаttle Seаhаwkѕ two yeаrѕ аɡo. The…

Coveted Free Agent Receiver Turned Down Kansas City Chiefs

Zаy Joneѕ ѕіɡned wіth the Arіzonа Cаrdіnаlѕ on Frіdаy, but before joіnіnɡ the Cаrdіnаlѕ on а one-yeаr deаl, he hаd drаwn іntereѕt from the Kаnѕаѕ Cіty Chіefѕ….