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Steelers Didn’t Visit with Kirk Cousins in Free Agency

The Pittsburgh Steelers did not visit Kirk Cousins in the free agency process, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kirk Cousins

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Steelers did not visit with now Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency, Mike Tomlin confirmed on Monday. Pittsburgh ended up signing Russell Wilson and trading for Justin Fields, but Cousins, who ended up a four-year, $180 million deal with $100 million guaranteed, never seemed like a realistic option at that price point.

That’s a significant contract for a 35-year-old coming off a torn Achilles, but if he resumes his level of play, Cousins was undoubtedly the best option on the market.  Regardless, he is now in Atlanta while the Vikings pivoted to signing Sam Darnold to a contract and appear set to enter the quarterback market.

But it’s not surprising the Steelers were not in on Cousins, even if his level of play was the highest on the market. Now, they will shift their focus to Wilson and Fields, who have a competition that will be decided throughout the offseason. Of course, that was after they signed Wilson.

“We’ve been very transparent about the pecking order, at least to start,” Tomlin said. “I just think that provides clarity for all parties involved. Russell is a veteran, man. He’s got a proven process of readiness. He’s been in this league a long time, and he’s capable of rallying troops, receivers, tight ends, and running backs; he’s just got a lot of experience in terms of what it takes over a 12-month calendar. I just think that that’s something that a younger guy like Justin can learn from, and it provides clarity for all parties involved as they do some of the informal things at this time of year.

You know, whether it’s coming together to workout in destinations and things of that nature. Rest assured, when it’s time to compete, Justin will given an opportunity to compete and we’ll allow those guys to sort themselves out. But I thought it was appropriate to describe it in a way for when we get started. Russell’s in pole position, and I think his body of work justifies that. And just from my conversations with Justin, he is excited about working alongside Russell and learning some of those veteran tricks of the trade from behind a guy who has been around for over a decade.”

As far as Cousins, Pittsburgh will meet him this season in Atlanta. In a new-look offense under Zac Robinson’s guidance, the team will look to get back into contention with new head coach Raheem Morris, one of Tomlin’s best friends, at the helm. That game will have tons of storylines, with Arthur Smith returning to Atlanta as well.

Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Orlando