Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II wouldn’t rule out a trade in breaking down his team’s quarterback room for the upcoming 2024 season.
In an interview with Bob Pomepeani of KDKA-TV on Tuesday, Rooney said that the team was not prepared to rule out any method of acquiring another quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Kenny Pickett.
The most obvious quarterback on the trade market is Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears. The Bears’ first-round pick in 2021, Fields has been a three-year starter and improved every season. But now the Bears have the No. 1 overall pick and could have their sights set on Caleb Williams of USC or Drake Maye of UNC. That could result in Fields landing on the trade market.
But would the Steelers really be interested?
“As we sit here in early February, we’re not closing the door on anything,” Rooney said when asked about a potential for a trade. “We have a lot of evaluations to go through. We’ll go through all the options and do what we need to do to be better this coming season.”
The Steelers have committed to giving Pickett another shot as the team’s starting quarterback, but Rooney did say that they need Pickett to perform at a higher level in 2024.
“The next step, number one, would look like more points, week in and week out,” Rooney said. “Just being a more effective offense, continuing to do some of the things we were able to do this year in terms of ball control, being able to run effectively, but then add on top of that, scoring more touchdowns.”
The Steelers also have a decision to make about backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, who had supplanted Pickett by the end of the 2023 season. Rooney was quick to point out that Rudolph has a decision to make, too, and did not sound especially confident about the Steelers being able to bring back the veteran.
“He is a free agent. We’ll see,” Rooney said. “He may have options, too. We’ve kept the door open to continue those conversations.”
The team’s unsettled quarterback position looks like it will continue to be a storyline to monitor for the Steelers throughout the 2024 offseason.