Mike Tomlin and GM Omar Khan Got A New QB Room For $4.5M | How Will They Utilize Both Russell Wilson And Justin Fields?

When the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended with a wild card playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills, team owner Art Rooney II let it be known he was not happy with just getting to the playoffs.

The usually reserved owner pretty much told reporters that while non-losing seasons were good, that’s not the standard in Pittsburgh.

Art Rooney

His displeasure resides with the team’s winless playoff drought, dating back to the 2016 season, and in essence, he put head coach Mike Tomlin and GM Omar Khan on notice.

Back in January, Steelers owner Art Rooney, who rarely makes any statements regarding the team to reporters cleared up any misconceptions about his feelings towards the team.

“We’ve had enough of this,” Rooney told ESPN. “It’s time to get some wins; it’s time to take these next steps.”

The Steelers have made postseason appearances in four of the last seven years but have been knocked out in the Wildcard round in 2020, 2021 and 2023. 

The club hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2008 and their last appearance in was in 2010.

Art Rooney Wanted Steelers QB Situation Fixed ASAP

Rooney was saying fix this and fix it now. The Steelers have definitely made some changes that should help their team going forward. After two seasons of putrid quarterback play from Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett (traded to the Eagles) and Mason Rudolph, the team went out and signed future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson and then traded for Chicago Bears 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields. 

Tomlin Makes It Clear That Russell Wilson Is QB1

Upon trading for Fields, Tomlin whose record for consecutive non-losing seasons to begin a coaching career reached 17 this past season, made it clear that Fields was coming to Pittsburgh as the team’s backup. 

Per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network Tomlin was straightforward with his plan going forward. 

“Speaking of Justin Fields and the Steelers trade, coach Mike Tomlin reached out to Russell Wilson last night when the trade was  going down to let him know he was the starter. @TomPelissero said it last night, and  Tomlin views that as the plan. Fields will compete, regardless.”

Fresh Start For Justin Fields

Smart move by Tomlin to etch roles in stone to squash any potential confusion. It’s also an opportunity for Fields to recalibrate himself behind a veteran quarterback. He’ll get to see how Wilson prepares and handles the daily grind of being a starting QB in the NFL. A blueprint to success that he didn’t have in Chicago. A positive step after the beating he took in the Windy City, and he’s still only 25 years old.

Two QBs For Under $5 Million In 2024

The Steelers unloaded the aforementioned Pickett for a 2022 first-round pick, Trubisky, who is a former No. 2 overall pick, and Rudolph, a longtime backup or third-string guy. They then landed two starters for a grand total of $4.5 million next season. 

Wilson will make $39 million, but the Steelers only owe him $1 million of that. As for Fields, he’s due to make $3.5 million in year four of his rookie deal. The Steelers must decide if they wanna pick up Fields’ fifth-year option for 2025 and also extend Wilson beyond 2024.  

How Will Wilson/Fields Dynamic Play Out? 

The Bears, who reportedly received much better offers than the sixth-round pick they got for Fields, did him a solid for his loyalty and professionalism and traded him to his desired place.

That now sets up and interesting dynamic between the two QBs and first-year offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, whose strength is designing a strong running game and throwing off of play-action. 

Wilson’s strength is throwing the deep ball off of play-action. As for Fields, he’s a great runner and off-schedule passer. In fact, since 2022 he has more rushing yards — 1,900 — than any other QB.

In many ways both QB’s skill sets mesh, making it easy for Smith to design an offense that will allow him not to have to deviate from the game plan if one were to unfortunately go down. 

This situation is ten times better than that of the last two seasons minus Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. 

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