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Russell Wilson to sign with Steelers: Super Bowl winning QB agrees to one-year deal with Pittsburgh

Free agency hasn’t even started yet and Russell Wilson has already found his new team. The former Denver Broncos quarterback announced Sunday night that he’ll be signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

According to ESPN.com, Wilson has agreed to a one-year deal that will pay him somewhere around the league minimum of $1.21 million. Wilson was willing to sign a cheap deal because he’ll be making $39 million during the 2024 season no matter what. The Broncos will be paying him nearly $38 million while the Steelers will be on the hook for the rest. 

Although Wilson isn’t technically a free agent yet, he was allowed to enter into an agreement with the Steelers because the Broncos gave him permission to speak with other teams after informing him on March 4 that he was going to be released when the new league year started on March 13. Wilson can agree to a deal with the Steelers now, but he won’t be able to officially sign it until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. 

Wilson visited with both the Giants and the Steelers over the past few days, but he clearly like what he saw in Pittsburgh more. 

The fact that the Steelers are bringing in an established veteran to compete with Kenny Pickett isn’t a huge surprise. Mike Tomlin made it very clear at the end of the season that Pickett would be facing some competition for his job. 

“There’s always competition in this thing. We don’t anoint anyone,” Tomlin said. “I’m appreciative of his efforts and where he is and excited about continuing to work with him, but certainly, he will be challenged from a competition perspective moving forward.”

At the NFL Combine, general manager Omar Khan said he has “full faith” in Pickett, but he also said the team would explore all options when it comes to finding a quarterback. 

“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, via 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.”

Pickett has shown signs of his potential, but injuries and an offensive coordinator change have largely neutered his growth. 

As for Wilson, during his visit to Pittsburgh over the weekend, he spent several “hours” with new Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, CBS Sports HQ NFL Insider Josina Anderson reported on Friday.  

The nine-time Pro Bowlers is surely looking to show that he’s still got it after his unsuccessful two-year run with the Denver Broncos. He was benched late in the 2023 season despite playing significantly better that year than he had in 2022. 

“I’ve got more fire than ever, honestly, especially over the past two years and what I’ve gone through,” Wilson recently said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. “For me, it’s about winning. In the next five years, I want to win two. I want to feel the chill of that trophy again. I love the city and everything else, but you also want to be in a place that loves you, too. I want to win, that’s all I care about.” 

If Wilson wants to win, he might be able to do that in Pittsburgh. The Steelers’ offense has several notable playmakers that includes running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, receivers George Pickens and Diontae Johnson and tight end Pat Freiermuth. Pittsburgh’s offense did enough last season to help the Steelers make the playoffs with a 10-7 record. 

The 35-year-old’s career has been in a downward trajectory for the past three seasons, but now that he’s in Pittsburgh, he’ll have a chance to prove that he can still play. The Steelers will be hoping that he can harness some of the magic that helped once him lead the Seattle Seahawks to two straight Super Bowls. 

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