DONE DEAL: Pittsburgh finally complete their promise with Russell Wilson for signing him on one year contract…

 Steelers promise Russell Wilson the 2024 starting job

It was widely believed that quarterback Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers reached a mutually beneficial agreement because Pittsburgh effectively assured Wilson that he would start this autumn ahead of 2022 first-round selection Kenny Pickett.

That isn’t the case, according to Sports Illustrated’s NFL insider Albert Breer.

“From what I understand, the team made it very clear to the 35-year-old nine-time Pro Bowler during their meeting on Friday,” Breer stated of Wilson’s decision to choose the Steelers as his next team. “Wilson was going to have to earn everything, including beating out former first-rounder Kenny Pickett for the starting job.”

Breer repeated a previous report that revealed Wilson’s camp wanted to strike a deal with a team such as the Steelers, New York Giants or Las Vegas Raiders that included guaranteed future money beyond the 2024 season. Wilson theoretically could’ve waited for such an agreement to materialize but instead decided to compete with Pickett during the summer.

“That he chose to go to Pittsburgh without anything built into the second year, which would’ve been a way for him to get some additional financial benefit beyond the $39M the Broncos were going to owe him (minus the $1.21M minimum that Pittsburgh’s going to give them) regardless for 2024, shows how much he wanted to be there,” Breer said about Wilson.

Former quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky of ESPN and Matt Ryan of CBS Sports are among NFL analysts who believe Wilson could, at the very least, guide the Steelers to a postseason victory playing under new Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. Smith is expected to lean heavily on the club’s rushing attack while hoping Wilson will excel doing off-schedule things as he did during his best days with the Seattle Seahawks.


Breer indicated individuals within the Steelers hope that Wilson’s presence will ultimately help determine if Pickett can be a long-term answer at the position after the 25-year-old lost the starting job this past season to injury and, later, to backup Mason Rudolph.

“Either Pickett takes on the challenge, and ascends, or Wilson beats him out, giving them their answer on the 2022 first-round pick,” Breer added. “Or, they have an experienced starter to guide their playoff-quality roster, which gives them time to reassess in 2025. Neither outcome seems like a bad result.”

Jeff Howe of The Athletic wrote that “Wilson has a very realistic path to a starting job” with Pittsburgh because of his ability “to throw the deep ball” under Smith. That path involves having to outperform Pickett in training camp practices and preseason games.

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