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Rich Eisen: Why is No One Talking about the Steelers?

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Minkah Fitzpatrick became the highest-paid safety in the league last Wednesday, signing a four-year contract extension that is reportedly worth over $18.4 million per year, with $36 million guaranteed at signing. Despite the massive signing, Rich Eisen thought it wasn’t being talked about enough and pondered why the Steelers are being overlooked in the AFC North.

“Which is the franchise whose team is being talked about the absolute least in the AFC North, right now? Nobody is talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nobody,” Eisen said. “Now, a part of it is because Lamar Jackson hasn’t signed a contract, and the team is offering him the opportunity to do so and he’s saying, ‘No, another day.’ And we’re talking about the Bengals because they’re the defending AFC North champion. And we’re also talking about the Browns, obviously, because of who their quarterback is and how they have bestowed the contract of contracts of all-time contracts in the history of contracts in the National Football League upon him. … And then you got the Steelers.”

The Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round to replace Ben Roethlisberger after an 18-year Hall of Fame career. For that reason, Eisen is absolutely perplexed that there hasn’t been more coverage on Pickett.

“The Steelers went to a rookie quarterback in the first round and the football world shrugs,” Eisen said. “And you know who doesn’t mind it? Pittsburgh Steelers. I think they love this. Absolutely love it. Lying in wait. Flying under the radar. Signing Minkah Fitzpatrick to the richest deal in the history of safeties and everybody is like, ‘Yeah, but what about Deshaun Watson?’ What about the Buffalo Bills? They’re the team that everybody is paying attention to. What about the Tennessee Titans making that trade on the draft night? Honestly, more teams being talked about than the Pittsburgh Steelers is really weird.”

Eisen also reiterated that he thinks Pickett will be the Steelers’ starting quarterback this season. Earlier this month, Eisen said Mitch Trubisky will start zero games in 2022.

“I feel like he’s going to get the gig,” Eisen said. “I feel like he’s going to get the gig, and (Mike) Tomlin has the juice to basically say we’re starting a rookie and we’ll go through the ups, will go through downs and we’re going to get through those bumps because the faster we do it, the better it is. Or, the Steelers just have the juice suddenly when it comes to rookie quarterbacks. Remember, Ben Roethlisberger didn’t lose a regular-season game in his first year as quarterback.”

The perception is that the starting quarterback position is Trubisky’s to lose in training camp and the preseason, as he got first-team reps during minicamp, while Mason Rudolph ran with the second-team and Pickett got third-team reps. With the uncertainty at the quarterback position, the win totals odds for the Steelers this season is 7.5. The Bengals and Ravens are both slotted for 9.5 wins, while the Browns are off the board due to the likelihood of Deshaun Watson serving a lengthy suspension for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.

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