Steelers OC Arthur Smith: Russell Wilson To Enter Training Camp In “Pole Position”

Before acquiring Justin Fields via trade, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear the team intended to use Russell Wilson as their starting quarterback in 2024. Both passers are pending free agents, and training camp looms as an opportunity for Fields to reverse the pecking order.

Tomlin later opened the door to Fields unseating Wilson for the starter’s gig this offseason, but such a development would still be considered an upset at this point. The latter has the opportunity to earn a multi-year stay in Pittsburgh or a deal sending him to another new team during free agency in 2025 with his play as a Steeler. New offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is in line with the organizational notion that the QB1 spot is Wilson’s to lose.

“Russ is in the pole position,” Smith said (via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor). “It’s a competition. Obviously, we get to Latrobe, I’m sure things will heat up, but both those guys knew that, however they were acquired, and they got here and I think it’s been pretty transparent.”

Indeed, Tomlin has routinely used the same phrasing this offseason when describing Pittsburgh’s situation under center. Wilson has impressed during spring workouts, giving him the edge so far over Fields. That has pointed further to the former Super Bowl winner opening the season at the helm, although the 25-year-old does not intend to spend the full campaign on the sidelines.

Opinion amongst PFR’s readers also pegs Wilson as the favorite to operate as Pittsburgh’s starter for at least a majority of the 2024 campaign. In that event, his free agent market (and that of Fields) would be interesting given the Steelers’ reset at the position undertaken this offseason. Moving on from Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph paved the way for the team’s new faces acclimating to Smith’s scheme. More clarity will emerge during training camp and the preseason, but the competition between Wilson and Fields will be one to watch as the summer unfolds.

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