Latest On Steelers’ QB Situation

The Steelers entered the offseason with some expectation of shaking up their quarterbacks room. However, Steelers general manager Omar Khan admitted this week that he never would have imagined the team adding both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields.

“I’m excited about both of those players,” Khan said earlier this week (via Dale Lolley of the team’s website). “They’re both really good quarterbacks. If you would have told me a month ago in Indy that we’d be here and Russell Wilson and Justin Fields would be our quarterbacks, I’d say, I’d be a little bit surprised.”

When the season ended with yet another one-and-done playoff appearance, Khan gave Kenny Pickett a vote of confidence. At the same time, the GM acknowledged that the Steelers would likely add some competition at the position. That mentality didn’t last too long, as both Russell (via free agency) and Fields (via trade) were acquired thanks to massive discounts. The Steelers were also able to find a trade partner for Pickett in the Eagles, allowing them to completely reset their QB depth chart. Despite the sudden pivot, Khan made it clear that it had nothing to do with Pickett’s ability.

“Nothing has changed. I still have a lot of faith in Kenny Pickett,” Khan said. “Kenny’s a good football player, a good quarterback. I think he’s got a big future in the NFL. Things just kind of evolved. I couldn’t really have foreseen that things would go the way they did.”

Now, the Steelers will shift their focus to their two new signal callers. Mike Tomlin made it clear this week that Wilson is in “pole position” to be Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback, although Fields will eventually have the “opportunity to compete” when the time comes. Tomlin noted the advantage of having clarity at the position, which is why he’s been straightforward when discussing his team’s QB plan.

“We’ve been very transparent about the pecking order, at least to start,” Tomlin said earlier this week (via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor). “I just think that provides clarity for all parties involved. Russell is a veteran, man. He’s got a proven process of readiness. He’s been in this league a long time. He’s capable of rallying troops, receivers, tight ends, running backs, et cetera. He’s just got a lot of experience in terms of what it takes to be the guy over the course of a 12-month calendar and I just think that that’s something that a younger guy like Justin could learn from.”

While the Steelers were clearly active in the QB market, the team didn’t pursue the biggest available name. Tomlin told reporters (including Pryor) that the Steelers didn’t make a run at Kirk Cousins, who ended up getting $180MM from the Falcons.

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