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NFL Analyst Thinks The Steelers Have Become An ‘Unserious Franchise’



Steelers Kenny Pickett

On the heels of Gerry Dulac’s report that the Pittsburgh Steelers have apparent “internal division” as to whether Kenny Pickett or Mason Rudolph should be the starting quarterback for 2024, Warren Sharp of Sharp Football blasted the Steelers’ approach to the games most important position.

“The Steelers have 25 passing TDs in 34 games since Big Ben retired, the fewest passing TDs of any team in the NFL. Now they’re debating if their 2018 3rd round draft pick should be QB1. This franchise has become unserious. Playoff wins in 12 yrs from 2005-2016? 12 (+ 2 Super Bowls). Playoff wins last 7 years, since 2017? Zero,” Sharp wrote on X.

Dulac also said the Steelers are not interested in signing or otherwise acquiring a quarterback that will demand to be the team’s starter. Steelers Now was able to confirm that the Steelers are not actively seeking an external starting quarterback.

This suggests that Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields or Russell Wilson won’t be considered, which leaves a lot to be desired. Pickett, or even Rudolph, being the starter isn’t really encouraging. Among 42 qualified quarterbacks (min. 10 starts) in the last two years, Pickett is tied for worst in touchdown-interception ratio (13-13), 40th in averaging yards per attempt (6.3) and 40th in points per game when leading the offense (16.8).

Pickett is also the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era with a passing touchdown rate under 2% among 335 QBs who attempted 500+ career passes. Perhaps it was the Matt Canada effect, but Pickett has a lot of traits that need to vastly improve, such as pocket awareness and eliminating the habit of spinning out of pressure. Just to name a few.

The Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since the 2016 season, the seven-year drought is the longest for the franchise since pre-1972. The fanbase is restless, and Pickett as the starting quarterback really doesn’t move the needle in an AFC loaded at the quarterback position. The Steelers don’t have “that guy” in a quarterback-driven league.

The Steelers could go after Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields, but they would have to give up significant draft pick compensation and commit approximately $23 million to a fifth-year option for Fields in 2025 before he ever plays a snap for the team. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is reportedly looking for a contract that will pay him a fully guaranteed $90 million over the next two seasons. The Steelers are still over the salary cap, and would have to make massive cuts in order to be able to afford such a contract. They also have never given out a fully guaranteed multi-year contract to any player. Cousins, who is turning 36, is also coming off an Achilles injury.

Russell Wilson could be an option (Denver’s likely to release him), but would he want to come to Pittsburgh to backup Pickett? The Steelers are in a tough spot, and might have to ride it out with a scenario of Pickett, Ryan Tannehill and a rookie draft pick as their quarterbacks for 2024.

Sharp’s assessment that the Steelers have become an unserious franchise is quite blunt, but a good portion of fans would probably agree with him. No playoff wins in seven years is uncharted waters in Pittsburgh, and that streak won’t end anytime soon until they figure out the quarterback position.