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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Sign LB Payton Wilson to Rookie Contract

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The Pittsburgh Steelers officially agreed to terms with linebacker Payton Wilson on a rookie contract, according to

The Steelers drafted Wilson with the 98th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Wilson had already developed ties to the Pittsburgh area prior to being drafted by the Steelers as his older brother, Bryse, pitched for the Pirates in 2021 and 2022.

While the exact details of Wilson’s contract are not available yet, Over The Cap estimated that the four-year deal in that slot would be worth around $5.59 million with a signing bonus of $890,000.

Wilson was a five-year player at NC State, and he had his best statistical season in 2023. During his final collegiate season, Wilson recorded 138 total tackles, six sacks, three interceptions, six passes defended, a forced fumble and one defensive touchdown for the Wolfpack. Additionally, Wilson won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the top defender in the country and the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker.

The reason that the Steelers were able to land such a high-profile prospect all the way at pick No. 98 is because of Wilson’s lengthy injury history. Throughout his career, Wilson dealt with knee injuries, shoulder injuries, and some questions about a concussion. Since high school, Wilson has undergone over ten surgeries which includes surgeries on both shoulders and multiple on his right knee. After the draft concluded, Ian Rappaport reported that Wilson does not have an ACL in one of his knees.

Despite his injury history, his award winning play on the field awarded him with an interview with the Steelers at the Senior Bowl and a Top-30 visit in Pittsburgh.

When drafting Wilson, the Steelers did not have an immediate need at linebacker due to the free agent signing of Patrick Queen and the return of Elandon Roberts. Though with Cole Holcomb still returning from a mid-season knee injury, without a firm timeframe, the Steelers valued a depth inside linebacker that can step in and contribute right away.

While he may not be the every down starter in 2024, expect to see a lot of reps by Wilson when the regular season rolls around.

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Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
May 11, 2024 5:28 pm

as true Steelers fan, that’s great news