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After signing Russell Wilson, Steelers trade 2022 1st-round pick Kenny Pickett to Eagles

March 16th, 2024

The Russell Wilson signing by the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t seem to signify the end of the Kenny Pickett era, though it was going to take a lot of work for Pickett to get back in the team’s short- and long-term plans.

Pickett and the Steelers decided to end it anyway.

Pickett, a 2022 first-round draft pick by Pittsburgh, was surprisingly traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Eagles gave up the 98th pick and two 2025 seventh-round picks and get Pickett and the 120th overall pick back, via Schefter.

It’s an interesting and abrupt move. Schefter said that Pickett “preferred to move on” after the team signed Wilson. There was more to it, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Wilson is signed for just one season. After struggling for much of the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos, Wilson is no sure thing to be the Steelers’ answer at quarterback for even the 2024 season. Pickett still had a shot to establish himself in the Steelers’ future. He’s just 25 years old.

But there was a reason the Steelers signed Wilson.

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Kenny Pickett didn’t succeed in Pittsburgh

Pickett had good moments as a rookie but mostly struggled, and didn’t improve enough his second season. He then suffered a high ankle sprain. Mason Rudolph gave the team a spark when Pickett was out, and head coach Mike Tomlin stuck with Rudolph for the rest of the season even when Pickett was healthy.

The Steelers tried to put a good face on things in the offseason, saying they still had faith in Pickett, but it was clear they would be looking for an upgrade. Wilson came aboard after he was cut by the Broncos, presumably to be the starter.

Pickett had 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 25 games, 24 of which were as a starter. There was hope he’d improve last season and the Steelers would be set at quarterback, but he didn’t play well even before the ankle injury.

Instead of backing up Wilson or competing with him to be the starter, Pickett moves to a new situation in which his path to starting is blocked behind Jalen Hurts. It sounds like he wanted a new start.

What it means for Eagles, Steelers

For the Eagles, it’s not a huge gamble on a young player who was a first-round pick just a couple years ago. Backup quarterback is a valuable position, and Hurts has dealt with injuries in his career. If Pickett develops, it’s a good thing for the Eagles no matter how his story ultimately turns out.

The Steelers are back to figuring out their future at quarterback. Pickett didn’t work out after the Steelers invested the 20th overall pick in him. Wilson is going to turn 36 years old during the 2024 season and he might never recapture his form from his Seattle Seahawks days. Even if he plays well this season, would Pittsburgh want to give him a big contract extension before he turns 37?

The Eagles are already set at quarterback and could take a shot on building Pickett back up as their No. 2. The Steelers have a starter for this season, though there are questions with him. And they need to go back to the drawing board for the future at QB.

As for Pickett, he’s back to the drawing board too. His Steelers career didn’t work out as anyone hoped. Maybe Philadelphia will be a better situation for him.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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