Steelers aiming to decline fifth-year option for QB Justin Fields

Even if the Steelers want to keep Justin Fields around for the future, declining the fifth-year option is the right choice.
Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1)
Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers traded for Justin Fields during the 2024 offseason, but that doesn't mean that they are willing the start throwing guaranteed money at him. When the deal was executed, Fields was informed that he would begin as the backup to Russell Wilson.

With the fifth-year option looming, Omar Khan has not rushed to a decision. However, speculation was that the Steelers would decline the option for the former first-round quarterback.

On April 24th, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Pittsburgh is not expected to pick up the $25 million fifth-year option to keep Fields around for the 2025 season.

This decision does not come as a big surprise. I wrote back in March about why declining Fields' option is an easy decision for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers would be wise to decine fifth-year option for Justin Fields

The market for Justin Fields is already extremely low -- it's the reason why the Steelers were able to acquire him with just a late-round pick swap. This tells you everything you need to know about what other teams think of him.

Following the best season of his career at just 24 years old, there were very few suitors willing to take a gamble on the polarizing dual-threat quarterback. Even going back to the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields was the fourth quarterback selected in the first round (so QB-needy teams weren't big on him back then).

Chances are, he's not going to suddenly change the minds of these franchises -- especially considering what he was just traded for and the fact that he will begin his Steelers career on the bench.

Because of this, there isn't nearly enough incentive to tie $25 million in guaranteed salary to Fields for the 2025 season. If Russell Wilson ends up playing very well and revitalizing his reputation late in his career, the Steelers could view him as an option in 2025.

Even if Fields sees the field early in the 2024 season by winning the job and performing well, there might not be a team out there willing to throw over $25 million per season at a quarterback they never believed in.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not made this announcement official and they have until May 2nd to change their mind. But every sign indicates that Omar Khan will not pick up the fifth-year option for QB Justin Fields.