Steelers Listed Among Favorites to Acquire $242 Million Quarterback

Kenny Pickett Mitch Trubisky Russell Wilson

Getty Bet Online listed the Pittsburgh Steelers among the betting favorites to land quarterback Russell Wilson during the offseason.

From a statistical perspective, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t receive stellar play from former first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett during the 2023 season. So, in all likelihood, NFL pundits will connect the Steelers to a lot of different signal callers this offseason.

But it’s not just pundits turning the quarterback rumor mill for Pittsburgh. BetOnline ranked the Steelers with the fifth-best odds of landing Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson in the offseason.

According to The Athletic’s Mike DeFabo, BetOnline has Pittsburgh’s odds of landing Wilson set at 8-to-1. The Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants also hold 8-to-1 odds.

At 5-to-1, BetOnline ranked the Minnesota Vikings with the best odds of landing Wilson.

The New England Patriots have the second-best odds of acquiring Wilson at 6-to-1, according to BetOnline. The Washington Commanders and Las Vegas Raiders hold 7-to-1 odds.

Wilson signed a 5-year, $242.5 million contract with the Denver Broncos just two years ago. But the 35-year-old signal caller is coming off the two poorest seasons of his career in 2022 and 2023.

The Broncos announced on December 27 that they would start Jarrett Stidham over Wilson for the remainder of the season.

NFL insider Josina Anderson reported that the Broncos benched Wilson as a “football decision,” not because of his contract. The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported, though, that Wilson expects the Broncos to cut him in March.

CBS Sports’ Zach Gelb Connects Russell Wilson to the Steelers

The Steelers coming in tied with the fifth-best betting odds to land Wilson surfaced a day after CBS Sports Radio’s Zach Gelb named Pittsburgh one of the two best landing spots for the 35-year-old quarterback.

“Who are the most intriguing destinations out there? That have a good roster, a good team, and they could use an upgrade at the quarterback position. What about the Pittsburgh Steelers?” Gelb asked on December 27. “The Steelers have two wide receivers that are probably on the verge of killing each other in George Pickens and Diontae Johnson, because they have no quarterback play. Heck, Mason Rudolph just played well and now he’s replacing Kenny Pickett, who was a first-round pick just two draft classes ago.

“You have a defense with a ton of talent if they can stay healthy. And you also have Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris running the football.

“Mike Tomlin is starting to lose some of the fan base in Pittsburgh. He needs a quarterback. And I don’t think Russ is a long-term answer, but Russell Wilson, for a year or two, can still be effective in this league.”

In two appearances on 93.7 The Fan during December, NFL insider Peter King echoed the overall sentiment from Gelb that the Steelers should be interested in adding competition for Pickett.

However, Wilson wouldn’t be competition. He’s been an NFL starter since his rookie season in 2012.

If the Steelers signed Wilson, they wouldn’t be pushing Pickett through competition. Rather, such a move would push Pickett to the bench.

Pickett is 14-10 as an NFL starter. That’s significantly better than Wilson’s 11-19 record over the past two seasons.

Wilson hasn’t posted a winning record since going 12-4 in 2020.

But other than limiting turnovers, Pickett has struggled statistically. He has registered a 62.6% completion percentage and averaged 6.3 yards per attempt with only 13 touchdowns in 25 NFL appearances.

Along with the Steelers, Gelb named the Falcons one of the best two landing spots this offseason for Wilson.

Should the Steelers Be Interested in Wilson?

The teams toward the top of Bet Online’s list of favorites to land Wilson are franchises that received poor quarterback play in 2023. The Steelers being tied for fifth just confirms that the organization has to improve behind center to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender in 2024.

It doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that Wilson is the answer.

Wilson was better in 2023 than he was during his first season with the Broncos. But that first season was a disaster, and Wilson was arguably only marginally better this fall.

In 15 starts this season, he posted a 66.4% completion percentage. That was a big improvement from his 60.5% completion percentage in 2022. Yet, Wilson’s yards per attempt average dropped from 7.3 last year to a career-low 6.9 in 2023.

Wilson also had 26 touchdown passes this season, his most since 2020. But he had career lows with 10.3 yards per completion and 5.72 net yards per attempt as well.

Furthermore, Wilson recorded those low totals despite playing in Sean Payton’s quarterback-friendly system.

If the Steelers add a 35-year-old quarterback this offseason, they will have to be confident he can win immediately. Based on his past two seasons, it’s hard to have that confidence with Wilson.

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