Russ Wilson Steelers

Steelers Signing Russell Wilson To Team Friendly Deal

After the sports books had them leading the whole way, Russell Wilson has decided to sign a team-friendly one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This news has stirred up quite a bit of buzz in the NFL community, and I had a full day of work to hear and digest some polarizing opinions.

Throughout his decade spent in Seattle, Wilson became the face of the franchise and provided countless moments of excitement. He was the traded to the Denver Broncos in 2022, where he signed a massive contract worth $245 million.

His time in Denver, however, was short-lived and will not be remembered with memories of winning. In fact, it may actually be remembered as one of the biggest let downs and one of the worst trades in NFL history. After a disastrous season coached by Nathaniel Hackett and then Denver hiring Sean Payton last off-season, this was a pot never stirred correctly. Wilson was unable to replicate his past successes with the Broncos. His performance declined, and Sean Payton was not immediately satisfied. Therefore, he was eventually released from the team in 2024.

Wilson’s Transition to the Steelers

Following his release from the Broncos, Wilson was granted permission to speak with interested teams before the official start of the new league year. His first stop was Pittsburgh, where he met with Head Coach Mike Tomlin and new Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith. Considering the outcome, we can only assume it went well enough for Wilson to sign up. 

He saw potential in the team and decided to sign a one-year deal with the Steelers. If Steelers fans are not necessarily excited about acquiring 35-year old Wilson, per se. Rather, the fandom is more excited that there is a 13-year vet playing starting QB again. The city of Pittsburgh is even more excited at the price tag. Teams have paid 100x more when desperate for a QB. This move at least buys the Steelers time and provides short-term relief. Now their salary cap flexibility throughout the rest of free agency and the draft can be allocated to address other serious team needs. General Manager, Omar Khan can make more moves knowing they at least have competition in the QB room this upcoming training camp. 

Mason Rudolph

This move marks a new chapter in Wilson’s career, but it will probably lead to the departure of Mason Rudolph. With his run at the end of last season, he deserves to at least get a shot elsewhere. I was just glad to see that the Steelers would be willing to have him back. Despite the very rough beginning, he won me over by staying ready for an opportunity, and he won some football games. With his immediate future in question, the quarterback meeting room could see potentially two new faces and Kenny Pickett.

Contract Details

The Broncos still owe Wilson ~$37 million for the 2024 season, regardless of where he played. Ask NFL owners against why they are against fully guaranteed contracts in the CBA negotiations again.

Knowing that his income was of tremendous size, Wilson was able to sign with the Steelers for only $1.21 million. I cannot think of another time a team has acquired a Super Bowl winning QB for the veteran minimum. Flacco signed with the Browns, but even that contract was $2.5 million.

This felt like a no brainer for Pittsburgh. You take a flier on the Broncos dime, and if it doesn’t work out, the Steelers are in the same situation as they were yesterday. Considering the benchmark of last year’s quarterback play, this arrangement allows the Steelers to shift their immediate strategy at a bargain price. Remember Mike Tomlin’s famous quote “we want volunteers not hostages”. 

Moreover, Wilson brings with him a wealth of experience which could be good for Kenny Pickett to take a back seat. With a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove, Wilson is hoping to revive his career in Pittsburgh. The offensive benchmark is low, and with some polishing to the offensive line, the Steelers could see themselves going beyond the 10-win mark from last year.

Anticipation for the Upcoming Season

What has frustrated Steelers fans the most is waiting for their weapons to be unleashed. Running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren should eat a lot of carries in the new Arthur Smith offense. This should give Wilson chances  to connect in the play action game with wide receivers George Pickens and Diontae Johnson (for now).

We know if the stars on defense like T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick are healthy, the Steelers are poised to always compete. The arrival of Wilson has undoubtedly added more excitement to the mix. Fans are eager to see how he will fare in his new team and whether he can help steer the Steelers to a successful season. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure – with Wilson on board, at least there is a new leadership style playing QB in Pittsburgh.


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