Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly might’ve already made big decision on QB Justin Fields’ future

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears turned down better trade offers for quarterback Justin Fields to facilitate his wish of being sent to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While he will have the opportunity to compete with Russell Wilson for the starting job, his future with the club is less certain.

Pittsburgh completely overhauled its quarterback room this offseason and took advantage of an opportunity of teams wanting to move on from their signal-callers. After moving on from Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, the Steelers signed Wilson to the veteran minimum after he was released by the Denver Broncos.

  • Justin Fields stats 2023: 86.3 QB rating, 61.4 percent completion rate, 16-9 TD-INT, 2,562 passing yards, 657 rushing yards, 5.3 yards per carry, 4 rushing touchdowns in 13 games

Related: Pittsburgh Steelers intend to ‘reward’ Russell Wilson in 2025

Once Wilson officially signed, the Steelers traded former first-round pick Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles. Shortly after, the team capitalized on the Chicago Bears’ desire to move on from Fields by acquiring him for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2025.

Not only did the Steelers upgrade their quarterback room for the 2024 season, but Wilson and Fields combined will make less than $5 million this year. However, it appears the team is only thinking about making a long-term commitment to one of them as of now.

Related: Best moves in NFL free agency, including Pittsburgh Steelers’ addition

During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter said that while the Steelers haven’t even gotten to see Fields start operating in their offense yet, the belief is that it would be an “upset” if the team exercised his fifth-year option.

“They just traded for Justin Fields, they haven’t even gotten him in and had him work in their offense yet and he is slated right now to be their No. 2 quarterback. Most people around the league believe that it would be an upset right now if the Steelers were to pick up that fifth-year option in advance.”

Adam Schefter on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields

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The fifth-year option for next season would fully guarantee a $25.664 million salary for Fields. While the Steelers coaching staff likes his talent, there isn’t enough confidence in him long-term to warrant picking up that team option.

As Schefter noted, this decision certainly wouldn’t guarantee that Fields won’t return to Pittsburgh in 2025. The club would still have the franchise tag at its disposal or it could negotiate a new contract with him before he hit NFL free agency.

However, the Steelers have already made it known that they are open to signing Wilson to a new contract after this season. Based on the contrast in their approaches to the two quarterbacks, it would certainly appear like Wilson is heavily favored to be the Steelers starting quarterback next season.

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