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Steelers Analysis

Kenny Pickett Trade Opens Door for Steelers to Trade for Justin Fields

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now back in the mix for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields after the Kenny Pickett trade.



Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Target Chicago Bears Quarterback Justin Fields
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 9, 2021. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers trading Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles caught everyone by surprise, but now that he is gone, Pittsburgh has a void at quarterback. Not only do they need someone to backup Russell Wilson or compete with him, but they also need some long-term upside in the room. Who could fit the bill? Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Fields has hit a dry market and while the Bears originally wanted a second-round pick, it seems highly unlikely they will get that. Before free agency, ESPN reported that the league was lukewarm on Fields.

Most teams do not want to pick up the fifth-year option on Fields, as they are viewing him as a one-year rental alongside players such as Sam Darnold and Drew Lock.

“The message the Bears are getting back from teams is that they don’t consider Fields more of a sure thing than other potential one-year options such as Sam Darnold or Drew Lock, who wouldn’t come with the fifth-year option decision that Fields’ eventual team will have to make by early May,” they wrote.

Asked specifically at the NFL Combine about potentially trading for Fields, Khan said that he would not get into specifics about the conversations he’s had around the league. Khan had the same answer when asked if the Steelers have an interest in Kirk Cousins or Russell Wilson. Khan is not permitted to discuss players currently under contract to other teams, at any rate. Obviously, they ended up signing Wilson.

“I’m not gonna go into details about the conversations that we’ve had,” he said. “But like I mentioned earlier, I can tell you that I have an obligation to look at every avenue that’s out there to make us a better football team.”

Sources have indicated to Steelers Now, that the team at least has preliminary interest in Justin Fields. With Pickett now out of the picture, these talks could get serious. And Pittsburgh seems likely to vet the price, which has likely fallen.

Fields took a small step forward in 2023, his third year as Chicago’s starting quarterback. The 24-year-old Ohio State alum threw 370 times, completing 227 for 2,562 yards and 16 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions and maintained an 86.3 passer rating and a 5.29 adjusted net yards per attempt.

Last season, he was 192 of 318 for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, an 85.2 quarterback rating and 4.63 adjusted net yards per attempt.

Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Bears — or another team, if he’s traded — must decide this offseason if they want to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. That would be a guaranteed $25 million contract for 2025. The Bears or another club could negotiate a traditional contract extension.

Fields would give the Steelers the upside in the room they would want and enter a competition with Wilson. So, if they did go after Fields, it would completely reshape the quarterback room. But it does not mean that either Wilson or Fields would be viewed as the long-term answer for the Steelers at the positon.