Steelers GM Omar Khan Speaks Out on QB Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan addressed quarterback Kenny Pickett in front of reporters at the NFL combine on February 29.

Head coach Mike Tomlin and president Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers have done their best to support Kenny Pickett in the midst of team being involved in quarterback trade rumors. On February 29, Steelers general manager Omar Khan offered his praise for Pickett.

While Khan admitted the Steelers plan to add competition for Pickett this offseason, Khan spoke highly of the only quarterback the Steelers currently have on the roster.

“I have full faith in Kenny [Pickett],” Khan told the media, via’s Joe Rutter. “He’s shown us some good things. Obviously there were some issues with the offense, and I’m excited about the impact that Arthur Smith’s gonna have on him. Arthur’s very optimistic about Kenny. I know they’ve communicated.”

“But [Pickett] knows and we all know that there’s going to be competition in the room, and we’ve always been a team that keeps three quarterbacks. I’d expect that to be the same this year. So, we’ll look at all avenues.”

In 2024, Pickett will be entering his third year with the Steelers. He completed 62% of his passes for an average of 6.4 yards per attempt in 2023. Pickett also had 6 touchdowns versus 4 interceptions.

He has posted a 14-10 record in 24 NFL starts during his career.

Steelers GM Omar Khan Supports Kenny Pickett, Aims to Re-Sign Mason Rudolph

Media speculation aside, it appears that the Steelers hope to give Pickett one more season to prove whether he could develop into a franchise quarterback.

However, the Steelers don’t want to just hand Pickett the starting job in 2024. They want him to earn it.

“There’s always competition in this thing. We don’t anoint anyone,” Tomlin told the media on January 18. “Man, I’m appreciative of his efforts and where he is and excited about continuing to work with him.

“But certainly, he will be challenged from a competition perspective moving forward. Competition brings the best out in all of us.”

Trading for a quarterback such as Justin Fields wouldn’t create competition for Pickett. Because of the draft capital required to land Fields and the money he would cost, such a trade would push Pickett to the bench.

The most obvious way for the Steelers to push Pickett in competition is to bring back the quarterback who the team started instead at the end of last season — Mason Rudolph.

“He knows we want him back,” Khan said of Rudolph at the NFL combine. “We’ve had conversations, but it’s sort of how the process goes. I can’t tell when the deal will get done hopefully with us. But it’s just a process, and I understand it. But we’d like to have him back.”

Khan added that Rudolph owes it to himself to test the market when free agency begins in March.

Rudolph went 3-0 as Pittsburgh’s starter at the end of last season, leading them to an improbable playoff berth. In four appearances, Rudolph posted a 74.3% completion percentage and 9.7 yards per attempt average with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Khan Declines Comment on Justin Fields Speculation

Pundits have connected the Steelers with several different potential quarterbacks this offseason. The Fields trade rumors, though, have probably been the most popular.

Khan received a question about Fields on February 29. However, the Steelers general manager declined to provide an elaborate response.

“I’m not going to talk about a specific player, but I’ll just tell you that we are looking at every option,” said Khan.

It’s highly unlikely the Steelers will re-sign Rudolph and also trade for Fields. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac speculated on February 29 that if the Steelers re-signed Rudolph, then their third quarterback would likely be a Day 3 rookie.

It’s quite possible that Khan may wait to see where Rudolph lands before making other moves behind center.

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