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Ryan Clark Believes Steelers Could Make QB Change in Season

Ryan Clark believes that the Pittsburgh Steelers could make a quarterback switch at some point in the 2024 season.

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields

Former Pittsburgh Steelers free safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark thinks general manager Omar Khan should be hoping for Justin Fields to overtake Russell Wilson as the starting quarterback because that means the Steelers would have their QB of the future. Wilson is 35 and on the back end of his career, while Fields is 25 and entering his fourth season.

“I want Justin Fields to win because that gives me an opportunity to have a quarterback of the future. Not a bridge guy. Not a guy on the back end of his career, but a young talented quarterback that needs the right pieces around him, who showed signs of being very good late last year,” Clark said on Get Up last month.

Meanwhile, Clark doubled down on that sentiment and thinks that the switch could be made in the season because of the upside that Fields brings to the table.

“I just think that eventually Justin Fields is going to get his opportunity to play, get his opportunity to start,” Clark said on the All Things Covered podcast. “How long can Russell Wilson be the answer? They’re going to have to figure out who their quarterback of the future is, and Justin Fields being that answer solves a lot of problems. But you won’t know that he’s that answer if you shackle yourself to a ‘good enough’ Russell Wilson.”

Since the acquisition of Fields, many have formed the opinion that Wilson’s tenure as the starter will be short-lived.

Fields took a small step forward in 2023, his third year as Chicago’s starting quarterback. The 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.

In 2022, 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.

Since 2022, Fields has the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,800 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Both figures are higher than Lamar Jackson’s.

As for now, Justin Fields still trails Russell Wilson in the quarterback competition.

Wilson is in the pole position. If you’re a fan of NASCAR, you know that means Wilson is in the most advantageous position in the quarterback competition. But Justin Fields will not go away that easily in the competition. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers realize their potential in Fields.

“Oh my god, man, he oozes talent and potential. He’s worn the responsibility of being the franchise quarterback, but still gets to come into a community situation to learn from a guy that’s been doing it for over a decade. There’s a lot of meat left on that bone and I’m excited about working on extracting it,” Mike Tomlin said.

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.