Steelers Legend Makes Bold Kenny Pickett Prediction - Sport News

Steelers Legend Makes Bold Kenny Pickett Prediction

While the Pittsburgh Steelers signed quarterback Russell Wilson to only a 1-year contract, NFL reporters such as The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly have argued that the Wilson signing marks the end of the Kenny Pickett era in Pittsburgh.

Former Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, though, had a different opinion. While making an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Bettis argued that he still sees Pickett as the future starting quarterback of the Steelers.

“I think Russell Wilson is the guy that you need right now for wins,” Bettis said on March 13. “I think if you look at Kenny Pickett, he’s gonna be the guy for the future.

“You bring in a hired gunslinger, basically is what you’re doing,” Bettis added. “I think it makes sense because everybody’s on the hot seat, right? It’s a must-win scenario. I think coach [Mike] Tomlin gets it, and he’s like, listen, we gotta win tomorrow, and this is the best way for them to do that.”

Ironically, Pickett has won more than Wilson over the past two seasons. However, Pickett has thrown just 13 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per attempt in 25 NFL games. On the other hand, Wilson had 42 touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per pass the past two seasons.

Will Russell Wilson & Kenny Pickett Compete for the Steelers Starting QB Job?

The Steelers signing Wilson sent a shockwave through the NFL before the legal tampering period began. With such a big deal, everyone has weighed in on what it means.

However, no one appears to know for certain.

In the past, the Steelers adding Wilson would be a sure-fire sign that the organization no longer viewed Pickett as a franchise quarterback. But in the past, it’s also very unlikely the Steelers would have done such a move.

In uncharted territory, it’s difficult to foresee what the Steelers will do next. Even who will be the team’s 2024 starting quarterback is not for certain according to some analysts.

“If you look at Kenny Pickett late in the year, once Matt Canada was fired, they went into Cincinnati, and Kenny Pickett had the best game of his career,” ESPN’s Louis Riddick said on SportsCenter on March 11, via Steelers Depot’s Jeremy Pike. “When they started pushing the football down the field, he was playing on time. Then he gets hurt. I think this is going to be a true, open competition.

“Pittsburgh’s just not the kind of organization that just throws in the towel on somebody like that … I think this will be an absolute firecracker of a competition.”

NFL Network’s Rich Eisen also argued that Wilson and Pickett will compete for the starting job.

Steelers’ QB Plan Beyond 2024

One thing’s for certain. The Steelers appear to have painted themselves into an odd corner by signing Wilson.

He’s not under contract beyond 2024, and Pickett is. Yet, the Steelers have to determine Pickett’s future while Wilson is under contract.

For that reason, Kaboly called the Wilson signing “a one-year experiment.”

“There’s no guarantee Wilson, who agreed to a one-year deal, will be on the Steelers in 2025,” Kaboly wrote. “Maybe he’ll play so well that he can make more money in free agency, or maybe he’ll fail miserably like he did two years ago and the Steelers won’t want him back.

“The Steelers have to decide on Pickett’s fifth-year option next May. I suppose a colossal Wilson failure coupled with a late-season Pickett push could change the youngster’s trajectory, but that’s asking a lot.”

If Pickett had another year before his fifth-year option decision, there would likely be more analysts agreeing with Bettis’ assertion that Pickett is still Pittsburgh’s future. Instead, Bettis is in the minority.

But stranger things than a starting quarterback getting injured. If that happens to Wilson in 2024, Pickett could have another opportunity to prove himself.

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