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Is trading for a QB an option for the Steelers in 2024?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in quarterback purgatory heading into the 2024 offseason, and that is an awful place to be. Their first round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kenny Pickett, hasn’t really shown out the way everyone would have hoped, and it has the organization looking elsewhere. The team has left their options open at the quarterback position, knowing Pickett isn’t leaving the roster anytime soon.

We all assume the other “options” are based solely on free agency, but are we also discounting the option of a potential trade?

Most fans don’t like losing either players or draft capital in a trade, but if the talent and trade matches, could it work for the team in 2024 and beyond?

Let’s take a look at some players who have a couple years left on their current contract, but could be options for the Steelers via trade, if they wanted to go down that road. It should be noted it is unlikely the Steelers agree to anything which has them shipping off a Day 1 or early Day 2 draft pick, so keep that in mind as we go through these options.

Justin Fields (FA 2026)

Everyone immediately points to Fields as an option for the Steelers this offseason, and it makes sense. The Bears have some serious draft capital, and could go with a young stud quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft class. But parting with Fields won’t be cheap; however, Bill Barnwell of ESPN listed the Steelers as an option for a trade with Chicago, and here was his thinking:

“All options have to be on the table for the Steelers after Kenny Pickett’s dire 2023 season. The Steelers made it to the playoffs, but their best quarterback was likely third-stringer Mason Rudolph. Mike Tomlin brought in Arthur Smith to be the new offensive coordinator, and Smith’s downfield play-action passing attack and quarterback run game seem to jibe with what Fields does best. The Steelers have an extra selection in the fourth round and pick 51st in the second round.”


Trey Lance, Dallas Cowboys (FA 2026)

Lance was a Top 5 draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers, and was shipped off to Dallas when Brock Purdy proved he was healthy and more than capable of quarterbacking the team in the future. With Lance expendable, he did nothing but back-up Dak Prescott for the 2023 season. Lance is still considered a project, but the Steelers likely wouldn’t have to give up much if they wanted the high upside of Lance, even though it might take time. Getting another project, considering Pickett remains a work-in-progress, might not be the best move for the organization if they want to win now.


Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (FA 2026)

If the Steelers want to go with a veteran, they might want to pick up the phone and call the Seahawks about Geno Smith. Smith has proven he is capable of winning games, and with a new regime in Seattle they might want a fresh start with another quarterback. A quarterback selected by the new coaching staff. Would it cost the Steelers a lot? Probably not as much as you would think, and Smith could be a great veteran to help mentor Pickett, assuming he wins the job in 2024 and Mason Rudolph isn’t able to be retained.


Mac Jones, New England Patriots (FA 2026)

Jones was last on my list for a reason, and that is because he is likely one of the quarterbacks the fans wouldn’t want anything to do with being a part of the Steelers. Reports of him being a bad teammate and uncoachable in New England will turn many people off on Jones, but with Bill Belichick out with the Patriots, if the new coaching staff wants to move on from Jones they might be willing to take whatever they can get for him. It could be a late Day 3 pick in 2024 and another Day 3 pick in 2025. I’m not saying I’m on board with this move, but Jones is a first round player who does have a first round skill set. It would be up to the Steelers to coach him up, and that is a project they might not be interested in at this juncture.


What do you think of a potential trade at the QB position? Let us know your thoughts 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 rest of the 2024 offseason.

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