Polarizing Steelers QB listed among 10 NFL players with the most to prove in 2024

The Steelers have a pair of QBs looking to change the narrative, but here's why one was listed among the top 10 NFL players with the most to prove.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Following another dismal offensive performance in 2023, the Pittsburgh Steelers cleaned house at the quarterback position during the 2024 offseason. Stepping in to replace a lackluster combination of Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph were two polarizing quarterbacks: Russell Wilson and Justin Fields.

Wilson has had terrific success in the past with the Seahawks, but he has been a controversial figure in recent years as his personality has rubbed some former teammates the wrong way and his performance has wavered. Meanwhile, football fans are divided on who Justin Fields can be in the NFL -- a toolsy player who hasn't seen any resemblance of success in his first three seasons.

Recently, Bradley Locker of Pro Football Focus comprised 10 NFL players with the most to prove during the 2024 season. Russell Wilson was the second name mentioned on the list after Browns QB Deshaun Watson. Here's some of what Locker wrote about Wilson.

"Wilson will get a fresh start in the Steel City, and he needs one badly. The 35-year-old has experienced a drop in production since 2020, finishing with a passing grade under 73.0 in each of the last three seasons. His time in Denver was especially acrimonious, as he was basically being benched by the end of the 2023 season."

Bradley Locker via Pro Football Focus

Though Locker did mention some of the positives -- like Wilson's 3 percent turnover-worthy play since 2017 and 80.3 rushing grade -- Wilson clearly hit a wall the past three seasons dating back to his final year with the Seahawks.

The clock is ticking on Steelers QB Russell Wilson

Locker noted that the 35-year-old quarterback could be done as a starting quarterback in the NFL if things don't go well in 2024. Justin Fields is chomping at the bit for an opportunity to prove himself as a franchise quarterback.

Wilson turns 36 years old in November and is on a one-year contract for the veteran minimum with Pittsburgh. If he doesn't rebound in 2024 and is eventually benched for Fields, no team would be willing to pay him to be a starting quarterback in his old age and coming off another underwhelming season.

This is his last chance to prove that he's still a quarterback who can win playoff games. Anything short of that in 2024 and Wilson may be prepping for retirement.

Since a spectacular 40-touchdown performance with the Seahawks in 2020, Wilson has a record of just 17-27 as a starter over the past three seasons. In his brief two-year stint in Denver, Wilson's QBR dipped to career-low numbers and he took a whopping 100 sacks in 30 games since 2022.

It's now or never. Russell Wilson will either turn things around early in the 2024 season or take a backseat to Justin Fields. It's easy to understand why he was one of the first names mentioned on a list of 10 NFL players with the most to prove this season.