The Pittsburgh Steelers have an upcoming problem at their disposal with the quarterback position. In his second NFL season, Kenny Pickett has failed to show any legitimate progress. Injuries have plagued him over the last month, which has further hindered his progress. There’s no doubt that former offensive coordinator Matt Canada didn’t exactly help Pickett’s case.
In his first start without Canada, Pickett led the offense to its first 400-yard performance in years. It will be interesting to see just what the front office decides to do with the crucial position this upcoming offseason. Well-respected NBC insider Mike Florio has one specific name that the team could consider: Denver Broncos veteran Russell Wilson. Florio threw out the Steelers as a possible suitor for Wilson in an appearance on 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) December 27, 2023
Florio’s rumor comes the same day that it was announced that the Broncos have benched Wilson. Signed to a massive $245 million deal just over a year ago, the 12th-year quarterback has not done well in his two seasons in Denver. The Broncos have benched him for the final two games of the regular season to ensure that he stays healthy.
If he were to fail a physical in early March, the Broncos would owe him $37 million according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. While Florio is well-respected around league circles, it’s hard to imagine this move being justified by the Steelers. Pickett hasn’t been good the past two seasons by any means, but Wilson hasn’t been much (if at all) better. Obviously, the Steelers would also have to pay Wilson significantly more than Pickett’s current contract.
Should Steelers Stick With Pickett Or Pursue Wilson?
In 15 games, Wilson has thrown for 3,070 yards on 66.4% completion percentage along with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Back when the Seattle Seahawks wanted to move on from Wilson, the Steelers barely showed any legitimate interest. While he’s a nine-time Pro Bowler, he is far beyond his best days. At this point, the risk would not be worth the reward for Pittsburgh despite the uncertainty at the position.
At this point, it seems likely that the Steelers will give Pickett one more year as starter. He will get a chance to prove himself under a better coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator. Amidst Mason Rudolph’s recent impressive start in Week 16, it seems now possible that he could return to the team in 2024 as well. It’s very likely that Mitch Trubisky will become a salary cap casualty after his horrendous appearances.
After the Broncos had a nice late season resurgence, their recent losses give them a minimal chance at the postseason. They sit at 7-8 entering Week 17, which partially led to why the team was willing to bench him. As for the Steelers, they seem likely to stick with Rudolph at quarterback for a second consecutive week. If they can somehow win the next two weeks, they will have a good shot at returning to the postseason in 2023.