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The trade of Kenny Pickett leaves everything on the table for the Steelers

When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the fan base had their world flipped upside down Friday evening when it was announced the team traded 2022 1st Round draft pick Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles for what amounts to some late round draft picks…or the proverbial bag of peanuts.

Kevin Colbert’s last 1st Round draft pick? Gone.

But that isn’t the story here. Pickett is out, and it leaves the Steelers almost back at square one at the most important position in professional sports.

As is customary at certain junctures of the offseason, fans have a simple question they want answered, “What’s next?”

It’s the million dollar question I receive during my “Let’s Ride” podcasts, and it can be difficult to piece together the puzzle which is the often time enigmatic Steelers organization. Nonetheless, I can speak with relative certainty here when I say after Pickett was traded nothing is off the table as it pertains to the quarterback position.

Let’s go over how the Steelers could take any number of avenues to get to the standard 3-4 quarterback depth chart before training camp:

Free Agency

With quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill and Joshua Dobbs still available, them bringing in one, or both, of those players makes a ton of sense. Dobbs is almost like a second quarterbacks coach on the sideline, and Tannehill has a tremendous understanding of Arthur Smith’s offense. Both would not just provide valuable depth, but also help Russell Wilson ease into the starting role in 2024.


Let’s get the name out of the way…Justin Fields. I haven’t spoke to our source regarding Fields, but the last time we spoke was minutes after the Pickett news hit the mainstream. At that time the question about whether the Steelers might be in the mix for Fields wasn’t brought up. However, you have to wonder if the Steelers might be interested if the price is right for the Bears. Giving up valuable draft stock is never ideal, and Fields’ contract situation would have to be rectified to make it work. A lot of moving parts, but like I said, nothing should be considered off the table.

NFL Draft

People laughed at those who thought the Steelers could take a QB early in the draft, yet here we are. Barring the Steelers trading for Fields, none of the aforementioned quarterbacks would leave the organization feeling safe about the position. Therefore, you look into the draft prospects and see what might be available. Most consider the likes of Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix as “not 1st Round worthy”, but what about in Round 2 if the Steelers want to trade up? What if a better prospect, like J.J. McCarthy, were to fall to near pick No. 10. Would the Steelers take some of their picks, like the extra 3rd Round pick they now possess, and move up in the draft to get a player they think could be their next “guy”?

If they did, Wilson being the quarterback for 2024 might not be the worst thing for the organization. That is, unless Wilson turns into Mitch Trubisky 2.0 and the team is forced to make a switch and put a quarterback into the fray before he might be ready.

Either way you slice it, there is no easy exit from the Steelers’ current predicament. The organization put themselves into this current mess, and now they have to try and get themselves out of it. Fans will bemoan Colbert’s final draft, but if Khan and company can’t solve the quarterback puzzle, is it not fair to heap the same amount of criticism on the new regime in charge?

I’ll give Khan a chance before drawing conclusions, but I stand by the fact that without Pickett in the mix all options are open for Khan and company…let’s see what they have up their sleeves.


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