The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ quarterback situation will be a hot-button topic all offseason. That was made clear on Monday, when Chicago’s Justin Fields‘ name was added to the list of possible quarterbacks Pittsburgh may be interested in acquiring.
A former first-round pick, Fields is going into the final year of his rookie contract with the Chicago Bears. Fields’ future has been a big question mark, however, given the fact that the Bears hold the No. 1 and No. 9 picks in this year’s draft.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Steelers will be adding some type of veteran quarterback this offseason “whether that’s Ryan Tannehill, whether that’s Russell Wilson, whether that’s Justin Fields.” Schefter added while on “The Pat McAfee Show” that something to keep in mind in the coming weeks is “Mike Tomlin is a big fan of Justin Fields.” A quarterback decision is something Pittsburgh will have to make soon, he said.
Fields’ career so far as been up and down. It’s fair to say that, so far, he hasn’t been put in the best situation to have success. He’s been sacked a whopping 135 times during his three years in Chicago that included a league-high 55 times in 2022. Along with subpar offensive line play, Fields also hasn’t been surrounded by the best skill players.
Despite those obstacles, Fields has continued to improve, albeit somewhat slowly. This past season, he threw a career-low nine interceptions. He also set a career-high in passing yards while leading the Bears to five wins, which was the same total he won during his first two seasons combined. Fields also averaged 5.3 yards-per-carry a season after compiling the second-most rushing yards by a quarterback for a single season in NFL history.
Pittsburgh got a firsthand look at Fields’ potential during his rookie season. In front of a ‘Monday Night Football’ audience, Fields threw for a season-high 291 yards in nearly leading the Bears to an upset win over the Steelers.
Given that he is under contract, the Steelers would have to compensate the Bears for Fields’ services, likely in the form of draft picks. That may determine whether or not the Steelers actually pursue Fields, who also has a looming fifth-year option.
Fields isn’t the only veteran quarterback whose name has recently been linked to Pittsburgh. Tannehill, who flourished in Nashville with new Steelers offense coordinator Arthur Smith, is also a name to watch. And while a veteran will likely be added to Pittsburgh’s roster, it appears that Mason Rudolph would rather pursue a fresh start elsewhere than return to the Steelers, where he’s been mostly a backup.
Whoever the Steelers bring in this offseason will compete with Kenny Pickett for the starting job. Pickett, who is entering his third season in Pittsburgh, is surely hoping to put this best foot forward after an injury prematurely ended his 2023 season.