Steelers’ Kenny Pickett Trade Displays NFL Volatility

Kenny Pickett
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Remember a few weeks ago when the Pittsburgh Steelers were supposedly committed to Kenny Pickett at quarterback?

Well, not only did the Steelers go out and get Russell Wilson, but they also traded Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, ending Pickett’s two-year run in Pittsburgh.

One of two things happened here. Either the Steelers were bluffing all along with their devotion to Pickett (entirely possible), or this is just an example of how quickly things can change in the NFL.

To be fair, it’s not exactly like Pickett was lighting it up in Pittsburgh. Over the course of two seasons, he amassed a grand total of 13 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

You don’t need to be a math major to realize that isn’t very good.

But here’s the thing: Wilson is 35 years old. He is currently the only quarterback under contract with the Steelers. Not only is Pickett gone, but Mason Rudolph signed with the Tennessee Titans.

So, evidently, Pittsburgh is very confident that Wilson is going to be the answer for the team in the short term.

Wilson did play pretty well this past year with the Denver Broncos. He threw for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. No, he wasn’t prime Russ from his Seattle Seahawks days, but he was certainly a heck of a lot better than the train wreck we saw in his first season in Denver two years ago.

But how can the Steelers be so sure that the aging Wilson is going to be up for the challenge in 2024? What exactly is Pittsburgh’s plan if things go ary?

Something happened the past couple of weeks that made the Steelers give up on Pickett completely. Or, perhaps Pittsburgh made the decision way back in December when it essentially benched Pickett in favor of Rudolph. Pickett was making his way back from ankle surgery, but even when he was fully ready to play, the Steelers stuck with Rudolph.

Maybe the writing was on the wall then and Pittsburgh did a phenomenal job of hiding it.

Regardless of what the reason is or how things transpired, the whole Pickett saga just demonstrates how volatile things are in this league.

Pickett went from a first-round pick two springs ago to now backing up Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. And Hurts likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so Pickett is pretty much stuck.

It should be noted that the Steelers received a third-round pick (as well as a couple of seventh-rounders) in return for Pickett. Pittsburgh also sent a fourth-rounder back Philly’s way in the deal. So, it’s not like the Steelers dumped Pickett for nothing.

But the fact that Pittsburgh feels entirely comfortable with no backup quarterback at the moment speaks to how the club truly felt about Kenny Pickett. At least at this juncture.

Obviously, the Steelers can address this issue via free agency and/or the NFL Draft next month, but most of the top backups already signed. Pittsburgh apparently doesn’t care.

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