Steelers’ Pat Freiermuth Speaks Out on QB Russell Wilson

Pat Freiermuth Russell Wilson

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth praised new team quarterback Russell Wilson while appearing on the Around the 412 podcast.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason program doesn’t officially begin for about another couple weeks. But quarterback Russell Wilson is already working out with a few pass catchers, including tight end Pat Freiermuth.

While appearing on the “Around the 412” podcast on April 4, Freiermuth was very complimentary of his new quarterback.

“I was just down there in San Diego with him working out and throwing routes,” Freiermuth told co-hosts Zachary Smith and Tyler Weeks. “He’s been great at talking to guys and starting to build that connection. He’s a great guy.

“You can tell the drive and determination that he has to win and come to Pittsburgh and win some playoff games for us.”

Freiermuth said that he along with wide receivers Calvin Austin III and Van Jefferson worked out together in San Diego.

The Importance of the Russell Wilson-Pat Freiermuth Connection

George Pickens is obviously the top pass catcher on the Steelers roster. But it’s vital that the Steelers get Freiermuth more involved in the 2024 season.

Freiermuth disappointed from a statistical perspective during 2023. But injuries and a lack of targets when he was on the field were major reasons why. He averaged under 4 targets per game last season. In 2022, Freiermuth had 6.1 targets per contest.

The tight end working out with Wilson even before the team’s official offseason program should increase the likelihood of Freiermuth being a bigger part of the offense again this fall.

Freiermuth should be a reliable over-the-middle target for Wilson this season as he was in 2022. He should also be one of Pittsburgh’s better red-zone targets, as he was in Ben Roethlisberger’s final season when he caught 7 touchdowns as a rookie.

One of the issues Wilson experienced with the Denver Broncos was a lack of an intermediate passing game. A lot of Wilson’s attempts were of the short variety or deep shots down the field.

Even in his final few seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson didn’t often target tight ends on intermediate routes. Wilson hasn’t had a tight end on his team reach 500 receiving yards in a season since 2017.

But Wilson showed in 2017 what he can accomplish with a dominant pass-catching tight end. A 31-year-old Jimmy Graham was fourth for Seattle with 520 receiving yards and led the team with 10 receiving touchdowns that season. Meanwhile, Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes.

Freiermuth may not have the same elite pass-catching traits as Graham, but with enough opportunities, he could produce a 700-yard, 7-touchdown season. That could be very key for an offense who doesn’t have a clear No. 2 wide receiver on the roster.

TE Pat Freiermuth Expresses Desire to Stay With Steelers

Freiermuth bouncing back will not just be key for the Steelers offense but also his future with the team. The 2024 season will be the final year on his rookie contract.

The tight end conveyed on the “Around the 412” podcast that he wants to stay in Pittsburgh.

“I want to be in Pittsburgh for the rest of my career,” Freiermuth said. “I want to continue to play for Pittsburgh because it reminds me of where I’m from and how I was raised.

“So, hopefully it shakes out the way that I want it to in the next coming year or whenever that may be.”

That’s not anything new. Freiermuth told reporters on locker room clean-out day that he wants to play in Pittsburgh for the rest of his career.

Whether Freiermuth receives a second contract with the Steelers could depend on how he performs in 2024.

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