With the Steelers signing Russell Wilson, now is the time to trade Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the Russell Wilson signing official, the Steelers now have a big problem with Kenny Pickett on their roster. While the team is hyping this up as a quarterback battle, it seems more than likely that this is Wilson’s battle to lose. If that is the case, Pittsburgh is in a sticky spot with Pickett.

The conventional belief is that Pickett will shift to a backup role unless he finds a way to win the quarterback battle. This means that the former first-round is destined for clipboard duty. While hanging onto hope that he turns things around and perseveres is fine, the odds are that his time with the Steelers is done.

With that being the case, why not try and trade Pickett now while he still has some value? While Wilson isn’t a long-term solution for this team, Pickett also isn’t a part of their future plans unless he turns his career around. After the team said he was their guy and they turned around and signed Wilson, he can’t feel like he is wanted anymore with this team.

The most likely case for Pickett is that he rides the bench this season and sees spot duty. Pittsburgh resumes their look for a franchise quarterback next season, and he enters the last year of his rookie deal with little to no value in the league.

Why the Steelers should trade Kenny Pickett now

Right now, Pickett has two more years left on his rookie deal plus the fifth-year option if a team wanted to pick that up. That kind of control is appealing to teams, especially when they are working on a reclamation project. It gives them at least two seasons to see what they have and if he is worth keeping long-term.

While Pickett has been an abject failure with the Steelers, the same reasoning that fans think he can still become a viable quarterback with this team applies to other franchises right now. He had one offensive coordinator who was historically bad, so maybe a fresh start would do the trick.

If Pickett looks shoddy this season and rides the bench as a result, those arguments begin to dissipate. As well, he will only have one year left on his deal, making his value that much worse. We just saw Mac Jones get dealt for a sixth-round pick and that was after another season of being the starter (although he did get benched).

What could you get for Pickett now? I think a fifth-round pick is the safest bet, but if a team really liked him in the draft, they could even land a fourth-round pick like what Trey Lance got last year. If he hangs around for another season, I don’t think you are getting more than a seventh given the contract.

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If you haven’t already faced it, Pickett’s time as the Steelers starter is over. That seemed to be the likely case ahead of this offseason, and the Wilson signing seems to be the final nail in that coffin. If the Steelers can get some sort of value back for Pickett now, they need to cut bait and move on.