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Russell Wilson ‘Eager’ to Help Next Team on Contract Front

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback target Russell Wilson is eager to help his next team on the contract front.



Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent Target Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) gets set to run a play against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are pursuing Russell Wilson and would like to land the former Super Bowl Champion after Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported that their interest in Wilson is ‘indeed real’. But more than that, the situation that Wilson would walk into is the bigger thing for him as he tries to get back to the Super Bowl.

Fowler detailed what Wilson is looking for in his next team. He wants an infrastructure of winning already in place.

“I’m told Wilson is eager to help his new team on the contract front and enters the free agency process looking not only for the chance to win but also a team with an infrastructure for winning and has done it consistently. Pittsburgh fits that mold,” Fowler wrote.

Of course, Wilson being ‘eager to help’ on the contract front is not surprising. The Steelers are searching for competition for starting quarterback Kenny Pickett, and Wilson represents some of the strongest available competition on the open market. He could also come at a minuscule price, at least for 2024. The Broncos gave Wilson a guaranteed $39 million in salary for the 2024 season, and any amount the Steelers or any other team would pay him would simply be removed from Denver’s commitments.

“Pittsburgh’s interest in Wilson is indeed real, as was assured to me by a team source. Wilson arrived at the Steelers facility on Friday afternoon and had what a source described as a “very positive” meeting with the club. While the team has begun the process of rebuilding Kenny Pickett — offensive coordinator Arthur Smith recently visited him in South Florida — the Steelers were always bringing in competition. This would be that and then some, as it’s hard to imagine Wilson as anything other than a starter,” Fowler wrote.”

The sticking point in negotiations may come down to what happens in 2025 and beyond. Wilson will turn 36 during the 2024 season, and it’s uncertain if the Steelers will want to make a more-than-one-year commitment to the veteran passer.

Statistically, 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, 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.