Latest On Steelers’ QB Situation, Possible Justin Fields Pursuit

Last week, we heard that the Steelers were interested in re-signing quarterback Mason Rudolph and having him compete with 2022 first-rounder Kenny Pickett to be the club’s starting signal-caller. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that, even if the Steelers are unsuccessful in their pursuit of a Rudolph re-up, the club will not consider an external addition who is eyeing a QB1 role. Naturally, that would rule out a passer like Justin Fields, who is widely expected to be traded by the Bears.

On the same day that Dulac’s piece was published, however, Jeremy Fowler of (subscription required) wrote that Pittsburgh will, in fact, acquire via trade or free agency a quarterback who can push Pickett for the starting job, and that such a quarterback would be “more than a stopgap.” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is reportedly a fan of Fields, and Fowler said that the rumblings connecting Fields to Pittsburgh are intensifying.

For a team like Pittsburgh that, as Fowler observes, could be just a quarterback away from championship contention, adding a clear upgrade over Pickett would make plenty of sense. But Mark Kaboly of The Athletic is aligned with Dulac, his fellow Steelers beat writer (subscription required). Kaboly confidently avers that the team is not going to go after Fields, and that while there may be a competition between Rudolph and Pickett if Rudolph is re-signed, Pickett will get one last chance to prove his worth before Pittsburgh looks outside the organization.

While these starkly contrasting reports between a national writer and two beats add to the uncertainty of the Steelers’ quarterback situation, it continues to look like there is no uncertainty concerning Fields’ future in Chicago. Though the Ohio State product recently said he would like to remain with the Bears — as relayed by Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-TimesBrad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune does not believe there is any internal debate as to whether the club should keep Fields in lieu of using its No. 1 overall draft choice (or a slightly lower choice in the event of a small trade down) on a top collegiate prospect. Rather, the real question is simply which passer in the 2024 draft class the Bears like the best.

Per Biggs, it is at least conceivable that the Bears retain Fields if they do not find a trade offer to their liking, but a trade is their preference. Previous reports have indicated that the team would finalize its QB plan one way or another by the start of the scouting combine (which opens tomorrow), and it sounds as if that plan is indeed to seek a suitor for Fields. Biggs says there is no disconnect on that point between GM Ryan Poles and team president Kevin Warren.

Expect plenty more Chicago-related rumors this week as team brass discusses its incumbent passer — and perhaps the No. 1 selection in the upcoming draft — with rival clubs.

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