What would a Justin Fields trade cost the Pittsburgh Steelers?

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

The Justin Fields trade talk is heating up as the former first-round pick of the Chicago Bears is being linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Recently, it was ESPN's Adam Schefter who stated that a trade is a real possibility and reminded us how much Mike Tomlin likes Fields. After that, the betting odds for Pittsburgh to land the dual-threat quarterback rose exponentially.

Major betting outlets like DraftKings Sportsbook, Fanduel Sportsbook, and NBC Sports Bet now have the Steelers as the odds-on favorites to be Fields' next team. Despite comments from Art Rooney II that they would put a trade for a quarterback in the 'unlikely' category, this connection is gaining steam.

It's not hard to see why. Fields would be an instant upgrade over Kenny Pickett, and the former Ohio State star would fit right in with Arthur Smith's wide zone offense that includes simple reads and play-action bootlegs (where he can use his athletic traits to his advantage). The Steelers also have a strong core on defense and a respectable roster overall, and decent QB play could help get them over the hump.

Most of the other teams looking for quarterback help in 2024, will explore options that make sense for their situation. The Bears, Commanders, and Patriots, for example, are better off going with one of the top three signal-callers in the 2024 NFL Draft, while QB-needly teams like the Broncos and Raiders might not be willing to give up draft capital after already trading for quarterbacks last offseason.

In other words, there might not be a lot of competition to acquire Justin Fields via trade. But what would it cost the Steelers to go out and get him this offseason?

PFF estimates cost for Steelers to execute trade for Justin Fields

According to a recent article by Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus, the compensation for a Steelers trade to acquire Justin Fields would cost a second-round draft choice in 2024 (No. 52 overall) and a fifth-round draft choice in 2025.

This is a lot more palatable than the first-round pick some originally speculated. But is it worth it?

There's little question that Fields would be an instant upgrade over Kenny Pickett at the quarterback position -- who has just 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 25 games (24 starts). Fields have excellent arm strength to cut through the wind to go with elite mobility. His ability to extend the play has helped him keep the Bears in games that they had no business competing in.

Fields would have to cut down on his turnovers, as he has a tendency to get reckless as a ball carrier and make too many poor decisions. However, the traits are undeniable.

Even on a new team though, it's hard to expect Fields to make a big fourth-year leap if he were to join the Steelers. Pittsburgh would likely be a good enough team to earn a playoff berth and maybe make a mini push in the postseason, but there's obviously a chance that he proves he is not the long-term answer.

If this happens to be the case, it's not like Pittsburgh had to sell the farm to get him. The front office can stomach the loss of a second and fifth-round pick if they are taking a swing on a talented quarterback.

In terms of his contract, the Steelers would be getting Fields in the final year of his rookie deal, but he also has the fifth-year option that Pittsburgh would pick up. This would essentially keep him around for two years and roughly $25 million before they have to make a choice about his future. If he proves to be awesome and they can't come to an agreement on a second deal, the Steelers could always slap the franchise tag on him.

You could argue that there are some better options out there, but if the Steelers only have to give up a second-round pick and change for a potentially significant quarterback upgrade, it might be worth the gamble.