Steelers Insider Rips Kenny Pickett, ESPN Reports Russell Wilson Not Promised QB Job

Kenny Pickett

Getty The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac ripped quarterback Kenny Pickett for wanting to leave the team as ESPN's Brooke Pryor reported the team didn't promise Russell Wilson the starting job.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving on from the debacle they had at quarterback for most of the 2023 season. But there will likely be rumblings about how the team went from Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitch Trubisky to Russell Wilson, Justin Fields and Kyle Allen for quite some time.

In his latest online chat, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac received quite a few new questions about the Steelers quarterback situation. When addressing Pickett, the Steelers insider didn’t have many complimentary words.

“He wanted out. Not a good decision, not a good attitude,” Dulac wrote. “Did it to himself. Dumb.”

To another question about Steelers general manager Omar Khan being potentially dishonest about Pickett, Dulac responded, “You shouldn’t always expect an honest answer.” He also added, “And it’s not their job to keep a quarterback who is 14-10 happy. It is his job to be a professional.”

ESPN’s Brooke Pryor didn’t put Pickett on blast as Dulac did. But her reporting for the Steelers quarterback transactions this offseason didn’t exactly paint Pickett in a positive light.

“Wilson didn’t ask for assurances about a starting job, according to a source familiar with the conversations, and the Steelers didn’t give any,” wrote Pryor.

But Pryor described that due to “the fanfare” of Wilson’s late-night announcement that he was joining the Steelers, Pickett “believed the Steelers were going back on their initial plan to give him the first-team reps.” So, he opted for an opportunity elsewhere.

That “elsewhere” will be with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Steelers ‘Believed’ Kenny Pickett Would Have Benefited From Russell Wilson Competition

During his post-season press conference on January 18, head coach Mike Tomlin stressed that the Steelers would bring in competition for Pickett.

It wasn’t “coach speak.” He meant it.

Pryor reported that the Steelers considered other outside options besides Wilson in Ryan Tannehill and Kirk Cousins. But the team zeroed in on Wilson after he became available for a cheap price.

Furthermore, Pryor reported that while the Steelers went quarterback shopping, Pickett “remained Plan A.” When the team signed Wilson, the organization viewed it not as a sign that Pickett was heading to the bench but rather as a big positive for Pickett.

“The Steelers believed, one team source said, that adding Wilson ‘would have been a benefit to Kenny,’ and the pursuit of Wilson would ‘kick Kenny into gear’ and reignite the competitive fire that had made Pickett so attractive to Pittsburgh in the draft evaluation process,” wrote Pryor.

“Instead, it did the opposite.”

Dulac reported that Pickett canceled a workout with teammates the day after Wilson agreed to his Steelers contract. By the end of the week, Pickett was on his way to Philadelphia.

Steelers ‘Acknowledged’ Team Didn’t Provide Pickett ‘Adequate Support’

While Pryor’s report conveys Pickett didn’t want to compete with Wilson for the starting job, it didn’t free the Steelers of all wrongdoing.

According to Pryor, “multiple sources” in the Steelers organization “acknowledged” that Pickett “was placed in poor situations” during his two seasons with the team.

“A flawed offense that sparked the 2023 midseason firing of coordinator Matt Canada was part of the picture, as was a shaky offensive line and an inconsistent group of skill players around Pickett,” wrote Pryor.

The team, though, was trying to take steps this offseason to right those mistakes. They hired Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator to commit “to the run game and a balanced offense” for Pickett.

But the Steelers will never see what the young quarterback could have done in Smith’s offense.

Read More