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The Steelers QB conundrum won’t have a resolution anytime soon

The NFL offseason has just officially begun, even though most teams have been in full offseason mode for weeks, and the national media has turned their attention away from the Super Bowl and started to provide fodder for fan bases who might be clamoring for specific changes on their roster.

For teams who need quarterbacks, they are front-and-center for these media companies, as the position provides plenty of attention both during and after the season has concluded. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they absolutely have a unique, and difficult situation at the position heading into the free agency at the start of the new league year on March 13th, and with the 2024 NFL Draft.

Some might say they are in quite the pickle when it comes to the quarterback position.

Rewind the tape a year ago, and the fans were beyond excited for what the future held for Kenny Pickett. He was coming off a rookie campaign where he led the Steelers to wins in 7 of their last 9 games, and won 4 in a row to end the regular season. Throw in a pristine preseason, and hopes were high.

Those same hopes were dashed quickly as Pickett didn’t progress the way fans had hoped, and had a season filled with nagging injuries. Where does Pickett’s sub-par season leave the Steelers? With no immediate answers at the position.

After releasing Mitch Trubisky early this week, the Steelers quarterback depth chart reads as such:

  • Kenny Pickett

That’s it. Mason Rudolph is prepared to hit free agency, and reportedly wants a fresh start with a new organization. Can’t say I blame him, he has to strike while the iron’s hot and maximize his value after a great finish to the season. But he is slated to be a free agent and there is no guarantee the Steelers will be able to sign him.

With only Pickett under contract right now, it has resulted in every possible scenario under the sun being discussed. Everything from signing Ryan Tannehill, who did some of his best work under Arthur Smith, to potentially trading with the Chicago Bears for Justin Fields. When our own Coach KT Smith pens pro and con arguments for these narratives, you know things have gotten bad…

Coach Smith on Pros and Cons of Ryan Tannehill

Coach Smith on Pros and Cons of Justin Fields

What most fans don’t understand is the team is in a position where there is no quick-fix at the position. If I use the above scenarios with Tannehill and Fields, how could those turn out? Tannehill is an aging veteran, and Fields has proven he can be dynamic, but at what cost would it take the Steelers to get him? And would they want a guy who has been turnover prone throughout his career?

Earlier today I took to Twitter/X and asked a simple question. You can see the question below:

Feeling brave? Go into the comments of the above tweet…

Some said they’d be happy with the Steelers making the above moves, while others were adamantly against the Steelers making such modest moves as re-signing Mason Rudolph and adding a rookie who isn’t considered “top tier”.

When you sift through the rubble, you come to some simple conclusions:

  • The best-case scenario for the organization is for Pickett to show he has QB1 potential…regardless of how you feel about the team drafting him in the first place.
  • There is no quick fix at the position, not without it costing the Steelers in several ways.

For some, they seem determined to speak free agent acquisitions, trades, and/or draft picks into existence. That’s fine, but it seems unlikely at best the Steelers find a way to get those deals done without mortgaging the future. Will Omar Khan, Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II say “screw it” and make these moves? It’s certainly possible, but I wouldn’t bank on it. Sadly for many, the Steelers will be heading into 2024 hoping they see a Round 1 quarterback show up in Pickett, and any additional help they get will likely depend on the asking price for players like Rudolph, Tannehill, Russell Wilson and many others.

There is no quick fix here, and that’s a tough pill to swallow for many fans…including myself.


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