Is trading for Justin Fields a simple fix at quarterback for the Steelers?

The Steelers have become the betting favorites for Justin Fields if the Bears decide to trade him, but is he the simple fix at quarterback?

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

With the Super Bowl over, the NFL offseason will soon be in full effect, and as such the rumor mill is already running rampant. With the quarterback position being the most important in the NFL, it should come as no surprise that potential quarterback moves are at the forefront of this rumor mill.

The Chicago Bears possess the Number one overall pick in the NFL Draft, and many believe that they will use that selection on a quarterback, particularly generational prospect Caleb Williams. If the Bears do select Williams, Justin Fields will find his name on the trade block, and the Steelers are one of many quarterback-needy teams who have been linked to the acquisition of the young quarterback.

Why Fields Makes Sense for the Steelers

Not only are the Steelers linked to acquiring Fields, but they have actually become the betting favorite by sportsbooks to trade for Fields if he is moved. It should come as no surprise that the Steelers are linked to acquiring a quarterback, as the team made the playoffs last season despite their quarterback position.

Kenny Pickett has not yet lived up to the billing of the first-round draft choice the Steelers used on him, and has not proven that he is the long-term answer at the position. Add in the fact that Mason Rudolph started over him, even after he was healthy enough to return, and it's easy to see why many believe they would be willing to upgrade on the position this offseason.

Fields is an intriguing option for Pittsburgh because he provides youth, and athleticism, and will likely be attainable for a day 2 draft pick. Fields has not lived up to what was expected of him in Chicago either, but his weapons have been lackluster, as aside from DJ Moore this season, he has not had much to work with.

Dual-threatFields presents the Steelers with a young quarterback, who is a dynamic player who has proven to be extremely dangerous with his legs. Nobody questions the damage Fields can do on the ground, as he has already put together a season in 2022, in which he compiled over 1100 yards rushing. However, the reason the Bears have not committed to him is that he has not developed into the passer that many believed he would.

Fields has an extremely strong arm and is still capable of growing into the passer that many hoped he would become. Adding him to an offense with George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, Najee Harris, and Jaylen Warren could be exactly what he needs to unlock his potential. Add in Arthur Smith's ability to create a strong running game, and the play-action game should open up, creating even more opportunities for Fields in both the passing game, as well as with his legs.

Why Fields Isn't Necessarily a Seamless Fit

While Fields' talent is tantalizing, and it's easy to give up on Pickett due to his lack of success at the NFL level, trading for Fields isn't the seamless option many believe it to be.

First, Pickett has not yet had a chance to prove what he can do in an offense other than Matt Canada's, and nobody denies that his play calling and playbook was a positive for Pittsburgh. Moving on from a quarterback on whom you invested first-round draft capital on before seeing him in a different offense feels like a huge step for the Steelers, who typically don't operate in that fashion.

Additionally, while he has shown a lot more than Pickett has, Fields is not this super-developed passer, as I mentioned earlier. Fields has struggled as a passer in his NFL career, and while his legs are a massive boost to the Steelers offense, there's no guarantee that Fields will ever become a refined passer at the NFL level.

What makes a Fields trade even more concerning is that the Steelers would have to pick up his fifth-year option before ever seeing him attempt a pass for them. This would lock him into starting for the Steelers for two years, while also giving him a salary of over $20 million, in his second year with Pittsburgh.

Combine giving up at least a day-two pick, with the significant raise he would get with the fifth-year option, and it's not this cheap solution at the quarterback position. All this isn't to say that this is too much to give up for him or that he'll be too expensive. Rather it means that Fields isn't a proven commodity either, so making this move presents plenty of risk as well, while officially closing the door on any chance of Pickett being your franchise quarterback.

Ultimately, time will tell if the Steelers enter the Fields sweepstakes. There is plenty of upside to acquiring him, but also a lot of risk. I would be excited to see what he can do in a Steelers uniform, and I believe they will inquire on his price but when all is said and done, they won't make a deal. While Omar Khan is much more aggressive than Kevin Colbert, this doesn't feel like a move the Steelers would make. They will likely give Pickett one more shot to prove himself this year while bringing in a veteran to push him.