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A Steelers Fan's Reaction to the Russell Wilson Signing

On Sunday evening, Russell Wilson signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers that will likely see him become the team's starting quarterback on a league-minimum deal. Wilson is 35 years old and coming off two seasons with the Denver Broncos, when he looked like a shell of his former self in Seattle.

Wilson comes into Pittsburgh hoping to fix a quarterback room that has lacked a clear star since Ben Roethlisberger retired. Even though he might be a short-term fix for the Steelers, he could still be the fix they need to become contenders again.

Wilson's 2022 was awful, throwing 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and leading the Broncos to a 4-11 record in 15 starts, and his performance was a big part of why head coach Nathaniel Hackett got fired halfway through the season. In 2023, under new head coach Sean Payton, Wilson improved greatly, throwing for 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 15 games before being benched for the final two games because the team was out of playoff contention. From Week 7 onwards, Wilson had 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in the team's final nine games, a massive improvement from his first 21 games in the Mile High City.

Meanwhile, in his first two seasons, Kenny Pickett had 17 total touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 24 games, finishing with a 14-10 record. When averaged into a single season, Pickett has averaged just under 3,200 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, nine touchdowns, four fumbles, and 6.3 yards per attempt with a 78.8 passer rating, which are mediocre numbers, at best.

In the past two seasons, the Steelers have won games despite Pickett and Mitch Trubisky's respective performances, not because of them. Mason Rudolph was good at the end of last season, but he showed the only consistently good performances that the Steelers have seen at quarterback in the past two seasons.

If Wilson can rekindle some of the magic he had in Seattle, the Steelers could quickly go back to being one of the best teams in the AFC and a regular Super Bowl contender. The team has one of the best defenses in the league, a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate in T.J. Watt, a solid pass-catching core with George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth, an underrated running back core, and a solid offensive line.

In Wilson's best years in Seattle, the team always had one of the best defenses in the league, two promising receivers (mostly Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin), a dominant, bruising running back (Marshawn Lynch), and a solid offensive line that allowed him to improvise as he went. The current Steelers are built similarly to the mid-2010s Seahawks, which could enable Wilson to build back into his previous form and allow people to forget about his dismal years with the Broncos.

Even if Wilson doesn't return to his previous form, the signing could still be good for the Steelers. Wilson is signing at the league minimum, so they aren't paying him very much money, and if he isn't a good quarterback for the team, they can choose not to re-sign him.

Additionally, Wilson could be a mentor for Pickett or another quarterback if the Steelers decide to draft one (which I believe they should). Even after signing Wilson, the Steelers still need another quarterback after releasing Trubisky and allowing Rudolph to reach free agency. In the NFL Draft, I believe the Steelers should look at drafting a quarterback in the third or fourth round, and potential targets could include J.J. McCarthy (if he drops that far), Spencer Rattler, Jordan Travis, or Michael Pratt.

Regardless, Wilson's signing could prove to be a good one for the Steelers in multiple ways, and they should be happy with getting him at a bargain price of $1.2 million.

Main Image via NBC Sports


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