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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Russell Wilson’s Swift Agreement with Steelers May Speak Volumes About His Intentions, and Pittsburgh’s Plans

SportsRussell Wilson's Swift Agreement with Steelers May Speak Volumes About His Intentions, and Pittsburgh's Plans

Russell Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback, was the subject of intense curiosity about his future after the Denver Broncos and him announced their divorce last week.

In a Yahoo Sports survey of quarterback agents’ and league officials’ forecasts, the Las Vegas Raiders came out on top.

However, the quarterback agent, who outperformed and placed threerd in his estimations, did not bring up the Raiders until third.

The Atlanta Falcons were placed second by the agent.

And in a move that now appears prophetic, the Pittsburgh Steelers were ranked #1.

Six days prior to apparent confirmations being tweeted by Wilson and the NFL, the agent texted, “Obvious need and a playoff team.” “This is his best opportunity to lead [a] competitive team from the outset.”

Russell Wilson seemed to concur. For on Sunday night, Wilson tweeted a video, just sixteen hours before the Steelers could lawfully submit a deal to the league.

It reads, “Year 13.” Thank you, @Steelers.

The NFL’s official Twitter account chimed in to its 35 million followers: “.@DangeRussWilson is a Steeler!!”

The union is interesting, since Russell Wilson will likely face competition from 2022 first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett and a third quarterback in the building (old journeyman Mason Rudolph, who started for Pittsburgh in 2023 but is set to become a free agent).

The speed with which the Steelers rushed to lock up Wilson is also intriguing.

Yes, his veteran minimum wage of $1.2 million is a tempting offer. However, Wilson has also encountered conflicting opinions in the club offices and locker rooms, and his performance deteriorated to the point where the Broncos—and primarily head coach Sean Payton—have come to the conclusion that holding $85 million in dead salary-cap space is preferable to using the services they will be footing the bill for.

So why agree to a deal so quickly?

Things didn’t go well for Russell Wilson in two seasons with the Broncos. He’ll get a fresh start in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Given Wilson’s incredible deal, it seems sense that the Steelers would want to lock up Wilson so they can organize the remainder of their personnel decisions and free agency approach accordingly.

Wilson, though, had more grounds for holding off. Why not ensure that he has the best opportunity to succeed, money being no object? Some executives and agents thought Wilson, especially in 2024, would wait to find a team that needed him until after the NFL Draft. League voices reasoned, “Find a team that didn’t get the quarterback it sought, or a team that did but knows the kid needs time.”

The executive stated, “In almost all circumstances, the sooner the better so he can obtain the system, reps, etc. If it were completed promptly, I would feel satisfied.

The stakes are wrong if he is a backup since the urgency isn’t as great.

This gets us to what the Steelers might have shown us on Sunday night: Wilson will definitely be a strong candidate to start for Pittsburgh in 2024.

Anticipate him to begin studying first-year coordinator and former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith’s scheme in addition to working with receivers Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. Wilson should have a good opportunity to replace Pickett, who finished 12 games last season with 2,070 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions while completing 62% of his pass attempts. Expect Wilson to play a significant role in training camp and off-season practices, regardless of Rudolph’s decision to rejoin the team. (If Rudolph wishes to stay, the Steelers appear to have more clout to get him back at a lower cost.)

Ignore the vitriol directed on Wilson, who, in spite of being benched by Payton in December, finished ninth in touchdowns and seventh in passer rating. Disregard Omar Khan, the general manager of the Steelers, who stated during the NFL scouting combine this month that he has “full faith in Kenny” despite “issues in the offense last year.” This was an on-camera remark that appeared to place the blame on the coach and playbook while relieving the player.

Khan revealed what may be the most accurate portion of his statement only afterwards.

At quarterback, he said, “there will be some fierce competition, and we’ll see where it goes.”

It’s not difficult to imagine one possible path that the Steelers quarterback competition may take. Soon, Wilson’s coronation will be waiting at the very end.

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