ESPN Reporter Names Steelers a Dark Horse for $243 Million QB

Pittsburgh Steelers helmet

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers were named a dark horse to land Russell Wilson during the offseason

Less than 24 hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season came to an end on January 15, it was time to talk about what comes next for the team at quarterback.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson could be what comes next.

In a January 16 article discussing Wilson’s future, Fowler named the Steelers a dark horse candidate to land the former All-Pro.

Wilson’s future became a topic of conversation after he was benched for Jarrett Stidham at the end of the 2023 season.

He hasn’t been officially made available by the Broncos but could be either cut or traded during the offseason as the Broncos look elsewhere for their future.

If he is available, he would get interest from around.

“The top three teams in the NFL draft — the Bears (No. 1), Commanders (No. 2) and Patriots (No. 3) — all appear interested in quarterbacks in 2024,” Fowler wrote. “That fact, and the potential for trades that would move quarterback-needy teams up the board, would likely limit the number of suitors for Wilson.

Fowler noted potential interest from the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, in addition to the Steelers.

Big Questions at Quarterback for Pittsburgh Steelers

Fowler called Wilson an upgrade over the Steelers’ Kenny Pickett, who was benched as the 2023 season came to a close.

Mitch Trubisky was awful in his starts for the team. Mason Rudolph was the bright spot at the position over the team’s last three regular season games, but the ceiling with him at QB became very clear in the Steelers’ wild-card loss to the Buffalo Bills.

That loss now leaves the Steelers with some big decisions to make.

Trubisky has probably taken his last snap with the team. They can save a few million dollars in cap space by cutting him and he isn’t even their backup anymore.

Rudolph is a free agent, but the Steelers could try to bring him back for next season.

Pickett will be with the team for at least two more seasons and the team probably isn’t going to completely give up on him two years after they drafted him in the first round.

Right now, the decision the Steelers have to make is when do they want to contend.

They won 10 games with a struggling offense in 2023.

Could they compete for the AFC North title in 2024 with an upgrade? Could they finally end their playoff losing streak with a better QB?

If they think they can, then it might be worth it for them to look into a QB that could take over while Pickett continues to develop.

Russell Wilson Was Destined to Fail With Broncos

When the Broncos traded for Wilson in 2022, it seemed like a pretty simple decision.

The Broncos had suffered through bad quarterback since Peyton Manning’s 2016 retirement. In 2021, the team allowed the league’s third fewest points but were led only to a 7-10 record by Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock.

They entered the following offseason ready to make big changes. They fired their head coach and started looking for a new QB.

Hopes were high after they hired Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach and traded a haul for a former All-Pro quarterback.

It seems they got both decisions wrong.

Hackett was fired before the end of his first season with the team and Wilson struggled.

He had a career-low completion percentage, threw for the second-least yards per game of his career, and threw just 16 touchdown passes while also throwing 11 interceptions.

For Wilson second year in Denver, the Broncos hired head coach Sean Payton.

It was another move that just seemed to make sense at the time. They needed a coach and Payton is a former Super Bowl winner.

However, Payton and Wilson weren’t a great fit.

Wilson’s number improved in 2023. His completion percentage came back up. He threw 26 touchdown passes. He only threw 8 interceptions.

Still, Payton’s best years came with Drew Brees, one of the most accurate pocket passers in NFL history.

But Wilson is not a pocket quarterback, and Payton didn’t adjust his offense to Wilson’s style.

With Payton having benched Wilson for the last two games of the year, it seems very likely that he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2024, which would bring an end to his disappointing time in Denver.

Read More