Steelers Trade Late Draft Pick for Former 1st Round QB

Well that didn’t take long at all. On March 15, the Pittsburgh Steelers made the surprising decision to trade Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles. Just one day later they’ve replaced him with Justin Fields.

pittsburgh steelers justin fields

Heading into this year’s NFL offseason, there were a few big names available at the quarterback who were seen as options for the Steelers to add, but it wasn’t clear if they’d actually get any of them.

They have now ended up getting two.

First it was Russell Wilson, who signed with the team last weekend.

After the Pickett trade, it was reported that the team had interest in Fields. Now they’ve actually made a move for him.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, they’ve agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bears that will bring Fields to Pittsburgh.

Schefter also revealed that the deal isn’t going to cost the Steelers much. They gave up a sixth-round pick in 2025 that can become a fourth rounder depending on Fields’ playing time.

A Disappointing Outcome for Fields and the Bears

The Bears made a big commitment when they drafted Fields back in 2021.

They traded the 20th pick in the draft along with a fourth rounder that year, a fifth rounder in 2022, and their first rounder in 2022, which ended up being pick seven, in order to move up to pick 11 and draft Fields.

It’s a move that didn’t really end up paying off for them.

In his rookie year, Fields replaced a struggling Andy Dalton early in the season and had to play behind a bad offense line and without much to work with at receiver.

He went 2-8 as a starter and threw three more interceptions than touchdowns.

Things got better in year two. His passing numbers got better and he was able to truly start making an impact with his legs.

He ran for 1143 yards that year and finished ninth in the MVP voting.

Unfortunately the team didn’t get much better and he went 3-12 as a starter.

The 2023 season was the best yet for the team with Fields under center. They actually managed to win seven games and the franchise looked to be headed in the right direction.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to convince the Bears that Fields was the guy that could take them to the next level and now they’ll look to the draft to find the QB that can.

Meanwhile, Fields now gets a fresh start with a Steelers team that has recently moved on from their own former first rounder.

Steelers Addressed QB Needs in a Big Way

After the 2023 season ended with Mason Rudolph starting at QB for the team in the playoffs, it was obvious the team needed to improve at the position.

As a team, they had thrown just 25 touchdown passes between 2022 and 2023 with one of those being thrown by Chase Claypool.

The Steelers went out and got that replacement as early as they possibly could when they signed Wilson before free agency even began.

It was a clear upgrade for the team despite the concerns that come with signing a QB who just got benched by another team at 35 years old.

Wilson was still better than anything the Steelers had, throwing for 3070 yards and 26 touchdowns in 15 games in 2023.

Now they’ve also given themselves some insurance in case Wilson’s age starts to become a bigger factor.

They went out and got themselves a fourth-year QB that was selected in the top 15 of his draft.

Things obviously weren’t perfect for Fields in Chicago. It’s why they’ve been expected to draft a QB this year and why they took so little in compensation to trade him.

They haven’t had a winning season in three years with him under center.

Still, there were some positives. There’s no question that he’s dangerous when he runs.

He has also improved every year as a passer. Every season, his completion percentage has gone up and he just took a huge leap in his passing yards per game in his first season with a star receiver to throw to.

Fields is a great insurance plan for Wilson and he could become Plan A for their future depending on how things play out in 2024.

More importantly, he cost the Steelers very little.

The Steelers really couldn’t have asked for things to work out much better at quarterback this offseason.

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