Kenny Pickett pouting fit reportedly led Steelers to trade the disgruntled QB

We want volunteers, not hostages... and Kenny Pickett wasn't getting with the program before he was traded.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Kenny Pickett won't be playing quarterback in the city of Pittsburgh for the first time since 2016. On March 15th, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles for a mid-round pick swap. Along with Pickett, the Eagles will receive the 120th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and the Steelers will get the 98th overall pick from Philly.

Pickett was a former first-round pick by the Steelers in 2022 where he played two seasons as the starting quarterback. Before that, Pickett spent five years as a quarterback for the Pitt Panthers -- leading the team to an ACC championship in 2021.

After Russell Wilson agreed to sign a one-year, $1.2 million contract with Pittsburgh this offseason, there was some speculation that Pickett could be traded. We don't we would see a trade come to fruition.

Just days after Wilson joined the team, Pickett is on his way to Philadelphia. Apparently, Pickett and the Steelers didn't end their relationship on good terms.

According to a report from Gerry Dulac of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pickett was disgruntled with the arrival of veteran Russell Wilson and handled the situation poorly.

Dulac goes on to remind us of the reported incident in Week 17 of the 2023 season when Pickett supposedly refused to dress as the emergency third quarterback against the Seattle Seahawks.

It looked as though Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II were willing to give Kenny Pickett a shot to stick around and compete for the job this offseason. Shortly after the season ended, Tomlin gave a glowing endorsement for Pickett to the media. The tides turned when Russell Wilson joined the team, and Pickett's pouting fit was enough to send him packing.

Trading Kenny Pickett was a necessary move by the Steelers

While you could make a case that keeping a former first-round quarterback with two years remaining on a rookie contract is better than moving up 22 spots in the middle of the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't seem to think so.

As Coach Tomlin says, 'We want volunteers, not hostiages.' Pickett was the latter.

The Steelers will never get their first-round pick back from Kenny Pickett, but this trade ensures that Tomlin and the coaching staff will not have a deal with a pouting QB on the bench this season. It also is a sign that Pittsburgh is willing to move on from mistakes.

With Pickett gone, Russell Wilson is the only remaining quarterback on the roster. Now the Steelers will look to add two more quarterbacks to the room. A veteran free agent is expected, and taking one in the 2024 NFL Draft now becomes a possibility.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to look very different in 2024, for good or for bad. Mike Tomlin and the front office are setting the precedent, and anyone who isn't with the program will be shipped out.