Steelers Rumors: Pittsburgh wants 'more than a stopgap' quarterback

The Steelers are rumored to want 'more than a stopgap quarterback' in 2024, and there are a few names who could fit the bill.

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers / Emilee Chinn/GettyImages

Everyone wants a franchise quarterback, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are no exception. Older fans know how rough it was watching quarterback play from the end of the Terry Bradshaw era to the beginning of Ben Roethlisberger. We didn't realize how good we had it with even an aging Big Ben.

The offense hasn't been good for quite some time now, but the last two years of subpar quarterback play in particular have been disastrous for Pittsburgh's offense. Despite a first-round investment at the QB position in 2022, a 'winning record ' is one of the only positives to point to when talking about the performance of Kenny Pickett.

Gerry Dulac reported that the Steelers are interested in re-signing quarterback Mason Rudolph, but it's easy to project that a Pickett-Rudolph battle isn't the answer in an AFC loaded with excellent quarterbacks.

Jeremy Fowler had a conflicting report. The ESPN NFL Insider wrote that Pittsburgh would acquire a quarterback via trade or free agency to push for the starting job -- noting that this quarterback would be 'more than a stopgap.'

Steelers could look for an upgrade with a veteran QB

The word 'trade' instantly has fans associated with Justin Fields at this point. Multiple betting outlets have the Steelers as the highest odds to land the former first-round quarterback, and the Bears are reportedly looking to trade Fields this offseason.

In addition, it doesn't seem like many suitors would work for Fields. The teams at the top of the draft (Bears, Commanders, and Patriots) are all expected to draft quarterbacks high, and there's no chance he goes to the Raiders where he is reunited with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy (who may have failed him in the first place in Chicago).

This leaves the Falcons as one of the only other realistic suitors to acquire Justin Fields in a trade. If they decide to take their chances in the draft, the bidding war won't be as big as anticipated, and the Steelers could pounce.

Free agency is another route that Fowlers reports the Steelers could go when looking for more quarterback competition, and Kirk Cousins is the best name on the market this year. After the confirmed salary cap increase in the NFL in 2024, Cousins won't come cheap, but Pittsburgh could easily create the cap space necessary to sign him to the contract if they are willing to make a big financial investment in an aging quarterback coming off an Achilles injury.

Like it or not, Russell Wilson is another name that is being floated out there. After being benched late in the 2023 season by the Broncos, Wilson is expected to sign with his new team for close to the veteran minimum in 2024. At this point, he will simply be looking for a team he could potentially start on, and Pittsburgh might be one of his only suitors.

Whatever they decide, it's looking less likely that Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be content 'running it back' with just Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph in 2024. There's a lot on the line, and this team seems poised to make a move that will add real competition (and maybe even an instant starter) to this QB room.