Saturday, April 13, 2024

Mike Tomlin explains Steelers’ 2024 QB plans after acquiring both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields

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The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t just add competition for Kenny Pickett in the 2024 offseason. They full-on replaced Pickett with not one but two veteran quarterbacks, signing Russell Wilson before acquiring Justin Fields via trade. Now, head coach Mike Tomlin has revealed the team’s 2024 plans for both signal-callers, including which of the new faces is expected to start.

“We’ve been very transparent about the pecking order (internally), at least to start,” Tomlin told reporters Sunday. “Russell is a proven veteran, man. He’s got a proven process of readiness. He’s been in this league a long time, and he’s capable of rallying troops, receivers, tight ends and running backs. He’s just got a lot of experience in terms of what it takes over a 12-month calendar. I just think that’s something that a younger guy like Justin can learn from, and it provides clarity for all parties involved.”

So Wilson will open the offseason — and presumably the 2024 season — as the Steelers’ new starter?

“Rest assured, when it’s time to compete,” Tomlin said, “Justin will (be) given an opportunity to compete and we’ll allow those guys to sort themselves out. But I thought it was appropriate to describe it in a way for when we get started. Russell’s in pole position, and I think his body of work justifies that. And just from my conversations with Justin, he is excited about working alongside Russell and learning some of those veteran tricks of the trade … behind a guy who has been around for over a decade.”

There you have it: Wilson will, in fact, open the offseason as the Steelers’ unofficial starter, but the door is open for Fields to contend for the top job down the road. As for Pickett, who reportedly sought a change of scenery after believing the Steelers broke a promise to let him compete for the No. 1 job with Wilson? Tomlin declined to get into specifics of the two sides’ conversations that led to Pickett’s trade to the Philadelphia Eagles, but the coach wished the former first-round pick “the absolute best” in Philly.

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