Report: Steelers plan to sign Russell Wilson to longer deal after 2024

The Steelers picked the best year to change their ways. They’ve emptied out a subpar quarterback depth chart, rebuilding it with Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. They’ll pay them less than $4.5 million combined for 2024, and they gave up a sixth-round pick in 2025 to get them.

And they’ve got no commitment to either player beyond this season. If one plays well enough to continue to be the starter beyond the coming year, so be it. If both do, “good problem to have.” If neither do, they move on to someone new next year, no strings attached and no cap consequences.

For now, they’re taking a blast-furnace-half-full approach to the situation.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (who reported one month ago today that the Steelers have no interest in a veteran quarterback with aspirations to start) now reports that the Steelers intend to sign Wilson “to a longer deal at the end of the season.”

It’s a safe position for the Steelers to take. If Wilson doesn’t play well, no one will say, “But but but you intended to sign him to a longer deal!” If he does play well, it’s a no-brainer.

Unless, of course, he plays so well that he wants more than the Steelers are willing to pay. (That’s another “good problem to have,” I suppose.)

There’s another reason for leaking that nugget to Dulac, who someone from the Steelers burned with that February 17 report (which was correct when it was reported). The latest Dulac item landed just after the Steelers traded for Fields. The point was to ensure that no one believes Fields was acquired to be the starter, and that Wilson will be QB1.

That’s another safe position to take. If Wilson doesn’t play well and Fields becomes the starter, no one will say, “But but but you created the impression that Wilson is the starter!”

Although Wilson seems to be willing to set aside the form-over-substance stuff that has characterized various stages of his career, there’s still a dance to be done. He feels like he got jerked around by the Broncos (regardless of whether he did). The Steelers know they can’t create the impression that they’re jerking him around now, by for example using his presence as leverage to get a better deal for Fields, with a secret plan to make Fields the starter.

Regardless, it’s all falling together perfectly for the Steelers. After the Broncos traded for Wilson in 2022, they should have resisted any overtures regarding a new contract before his first game with his new team. It created a mess for the Broncos that will resonate to the tune of $85 million in dead money over the next two years.

Thanks to the $39 million the Broncos owe Wilson for 2024 (with Pittsburgh paying only $1.21 million of it), the Steelers can’t and won’t be pressured to do anything like that until after they have a chance to see what Wilson can do, for an entire season.

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