The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback situation will be a hot topic all offseason. That was made clear Monday, when Chicago’s Justin Fields’ name was added to the list of possible quarterbacks Pittsburgh might be interested in acquiring.
A former first-round pick, Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Chicago Bears. Fields’ future is a big question mark, however, given 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 would add some sort of veteran quarterback this offseason “whether it’s Ryan Tannehill, whether it’s Russell Wilson, whether it’s Justin Fields.” Schefter added on “The Pat McAfee Show” that one thing to keep in mind in the coming weeks is that “Mike Tomlin is a huge fan of Justin Fields.” Pittsburgh will have to make a decision at quarterback soon, he said.
Fields’ career has had its ups and downs thus far. It’s fair to say that so far he hasn’t been put in the best situation to succeed. He was sacked 135 times in his three years in Chicago, including a record 55 times in 2022. In addition to poor offensive line play, Fields also hasn’t been surrounded by top players.
Despite these obstacles, Fields continued to improve, albeit somewhat slowly. Last season, he threw a career-high nine interceptions. He also set a career high in passing yards while leading the Bears to five wins, the same total he had in his first two seasons combined. Fields also averaged 5.3 yards per carry per season after compiling the second-most rushing yards by a quarterback for a single season in NFL history.
Pittsburgh got a glimpse of Fields’ potential during his rookie season. In front of a “Monday Night Football” audience, Fields threw for a record 291 yards, nearly leading the Bears to an upset victory over the Steelers.
Given that he is under contract, the Steelers are expected to compensate the Bears for Fields’ services, likely in the form of draft picks. That could determine whether or not the Steelers pursue Fields, who also has an impending fifth-year option.
Fields isn’t the only veteran quarterback whose name has been associated with Pittsburgh recently. Tannehill, who thrived in Nashville under new Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, is also a name to watch. And while a veteran will likely be added to Pittsburgh’s roster, it appears Mason Rudolph would rather get a fresh start elsewhere than return to the Steelers, where he has primarily been a backup.
Whoever the Steelers draft this offseason will compete with Kenny Pickett for the starting job. Pickett, entering his third season in Pittsburgh, is surely hoping to perform his best after an injury ended his 2023 season prematurely.