Steelers Sign QB Russell Wilson

Image: Instagram/@adamschefter

By Ray Porter Jr.                                

On January 29th, Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II made it plain that he is tired of the team’s lack of recent playoff success: “We’ve had enough of this,” he said. “It’s time to get some wins. It’s time to take these next steps. There’s some urgency there, for sure.”

GM Omar Khan followed suit, saying that although he has full faith in QB Kenny Pickett. “There’s different avenues for us — draft, free agency, the trade market. I would say every one of those avenues is an option for us,” Khan said (The Athletic). “We’re looking at everything. I have an obligation to this organization, to the players, to the front office, to every member of Steelers nation, to look at every option, every way of trying to improve this team. And we’re going to do so.”

On Friday, March 8, the Steelers chose one of those avenues and not only expressed interest in veteran QB Russell Wilson, but they brought him in for a visit, spent 6 hours with him and in the hour of 11 pm, the Steelers and Wilson agreed to terms (though it won’t be official until March 13): a 1-year deal worth the League minimum of $1.2 million.

Wilson, 35, had spent the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos who had signed him to a five-year, $245 million contract extension. Unfortunately, both Wilson and the Broncos failed to live up to expectations, and as a result, the team informed him that they would release him on March 13.

Prior to the Broncos, Wilson had played with the Seattle Seahawks from 2012-2021, where he led them to 2 Super Bowls and one Super Bowl ring. He was also an 8-time Pro-Bowler, and a 2nd-team All-Pro.

Now that he’s joined the Steelers, Wilson is expected to bring his veteran experience to a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since the 2016 season and has struggled at the QB position since the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger. Last season, second-year QB Kenny Pickett started the season but not only faced significant challenges due to the offensive philosophy and injury, which led to veteran QB Mitch Trubisky. And when he struggled, the Steelers turned to third-stringer Mason Rudolph, who led the Steelers to 3 wins and the postseason.

Trubisky has returned to Buffalo, and it’s not determined that Rudolph will return, but only Pickett and now Wilson remain, and the expectation is that both will have a chance to compete for the starting spot.

Signing Wilson was truly a 180-degree turn from how the Steelers would usually operate in Free Agency, and time will tell what else Khan has up his sleeve.

Notes: On Monday, the Steelers signed former Houston Texans P Cameron Johnston to a deal.

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