Russell Wilson's no-trade clause with Steelers doesn't ensure he won't be benched

Wilson can hit the 'veto' button on a trade, but that does not mean he's immune to holding a clipboard from the sidelines.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

When Russell Wilson signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the offseason, it wasn't only with the promise from Mike Tomlin that he would be the starting quarterback in 2024. Along with his willingness to ink a deal for the veteran minimum, we recently discovered Wilson has another little tidbit concerning his contract.

On June 5, Dan Graziano of ESPN reported that Wilson has a no-trade clause in his contract. If Pittsburgh wants to trade the veteran quarterback, Wilson has to sign off on it first.

In the odd chance that Pittsburgh wanted to trade Wilson to another team and gain some draft capital from him as they look to move on from Justin Fields, Wilson could hit them with the 'veto' button.

This is a scenario that would have been highly unlikely to play out -- even if Wilson didn't have a no-trade clause. The market for Wilson may not have been very big, to begin with. It's part of the reason why he inked a one-year deal with nothing more than the promise to secure the starting job at the beginning of the season.

While the no-trade clause may give Russell Wilson peace of mind, it won't prevent him from getting benched.

Steelers can bench Wilson for Justin Fields at any point

We don't know what was said behind closed doors between the Steelers organization and Russell Wilson. The long-time veteran quarterback is expected to begin the 2024 season as the starter, but as far as we know, there's no promise of job security beyond this.

If Wilson struggles, the Steelers can turn to Fields -- a player who is a decade younger with significantly more upside at this point. Fields is a player that Mike Tomlin and the team have had their eyes on since his days at Ohio State, and there were whispers that they would have taken him if he fell to their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Of course, the Steelers aren't going to bench Wilson if they are winning football games. This is something we have seen as recently as last season. Mike Tomlin chose to roll with the 'hot hand ' in Mason Rudolph in the final stretch of the 2023 season even after Kenny Pickett was cleared to play.

However, if Pittsburgh struggles early in the year, it may not take long for Wilson to find his way to the bench. If the Steelers were to go on an early-season losing skid, this could come sooner than expected.

When this happens, his no-trade clause could become irrelevant. Russell Wilson may have a say in the team he wants to be traded to, but he won't have a choice but to oblige if Mike Tomlin ultimately asks him to head to the bench in favor of Justin Fields.