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Grading the Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 offseason

The NFL offseason can be an absolute blur at times, and it can also be gone in the blink of an eye. When the new league year begins in March, teams start to make alterations to their roster. Some are severe changes, while others are more minor adjustments to an already strong roster.

As we are under a month away from training camp, it seems as if the vast majority of moves are all but done. This means it makes sense to use the down time between minicamp and training camp to grade individual teams’ offseason from start to finish.

At ESPN they graded every team’s offseason, and, for those wondering, this is how they graded the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Pittsburgh Steelers: B

Biggest move: Signing QB Russell Wilson
Move I liked: Trading for QB Justin Fields
Move I disliked: Trading WR Diontae Johnson for CB Donte Jackson

The Steelers made two low-cost, low-risk moves to acquire quarterbacks and should be lauded for both. Signing Wilson to a one-year, $1.2 million deal (something Wilson agreed to because of guarantees in his previous contract with the Broncos) was a no-brainer. Wilson is a slightly below-average starter at this point — he was 21st in QBR last season — but still an upgrade over Kenny Pickett. And the Steelers did it for next to nothing.

Even with Wilson aboard, once the cost for Fields went as low as it did — Pittsburgh traded a conditional sixth-round pick for him — acquiring him made all the sense in the world. Fields offers an upside Wilson no longer possesses. While neither is likely to be the Steelers’ long-term answer, both are worth taking a shot on. In fact, if there’s a major quarterback injury in August, I don’t think it’ll be unfathomable for the Steelers to flip either player for a profit.

Trading Johnson for Jackson was an error in my view. While Jackson helps fill the void at corner opposite Joey Porter Jr., Johnson has much higher upside considering the incredible open scores (via our receiver tracking metrics) he has posted in his career — three 90-plus scores in five seasons.

The Steelers also signed linebacker Patrick Queen to a three-year, $41 million contract. Though I didn’t love the move given Queen’s risks — he plays a non-premium position and thrived only once he played next to Roquan Smith — this was a cheaper deal than I expected him to get.

When you consider the amount of change and turnover on the Steelers roster heading into 2024, it shouldn’t surprise anyone they get passing grades; however, change just for the sake of change is not the hallmark of a good team/organization. Will the Steelers revamped quarterback room pay dividends? Will the lack of moves at wide receiver come back to bite them? Have the defensive additions equated in a better defensive product?

Those answers won’t be known until the regular season starts, but this exercise does help people think about how they view the team’s offseason to date. As for me, I’d agree with ESPN, but I’d tack on a + at the end, giving the Steelers a B+. If they would have been able to add another wide receiver with more of a pedigree than Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins and Scottie Miller, I’d likely given them an A. Nonetheless, a B+ is a solid grade.

What grade would you give the offseason? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the final weeks of the offseason before reporting to training camp.


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