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Deshaun Watson Praises Steelers for Adding Russell Wilson

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson praised the Steelers for adding Russell Wilson their QB room.



Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson warms up against the Steelers, Oct. 17, 2021 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has two new opponents to worry about as a quarterback in the AFC North after the Pittsburgh Steelers added Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. It completed a retooling of the quarterback that cleared out the entire 2023 room.

And Watson believes that adding Wilson and Fields to the room adds more intrigue to the entire divisional race.

“It just made sense for [Wilson] to go there. I think it was them or New York, but New York, I feel like they’re starting over. Pittsburgh feels like they’ve got pieces, just because of Tomlin. They’re gonna compete. Welcome to the North, man, where things get real, real, real, real spooky,” Watson said on the QB Unplugged podcast. “Pittsburgh’s a good organization. It’s crazy for me to say that, I’m just keeping it 100, because I’m a Brown. But at the end of the day you gotta give respect where respect is due. Tomlin is gonna have them boys right.”

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.

Justin Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Steelers 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 Steelers could negotiate a traditional contract extension.

Statistically, Russell Wilson had a rebound in 2023 after a rough season in 2022. Last year, Wilson started 15 games for the Broncos, completing 297 of 447 passes (66.4%) for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 98.0 passer rating and a 6.04 adjusted net yards per attempt. Wilson was benched by the Broncos for the stretch run, after a contract dispute between him and the team over his contract guarantee for the 2025 season.

Denver is just two seasons removed from trading for Wilson. The Broncos sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant to the Seahawks for Wilson on March 16, 2022.

A Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowler with the Seahawks, Russell Wilson struggled in Denver. He posted an 84.4 passer rating in 2022, which was by far the lowest mark of his career, and was sacked a league-high 55 times.

The Broncos fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett after just one season, trading more draft picks for former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton this past offseason. Wilson played better, but he did not appear to have a solid relationship with Payton, who has gone out of his way to criticize Wilson this offseason.

The Broncos absorbed a gigantic salary cap hit in order to move on from Wilson. They can minimize it if they release him with a post-June 1 designation, but that would still deal them a$85 million in dead cap charges over each the 2024 and 2025 seasons.