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Steelers Failed Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett bears responsibility for the Russell Wilson signing but the Pittsburgh Steelers' organization did not do their part in helping him succeed.

Russell Wilson can't officially join the Pittsburgh Steelers until later this week when free agency commences. However, the deal is all but officially inked. Wilson will join the Steelers for the veteran minimum as the Denver Broncos owe him nearly $40 million next season.

In terms of the situation for the Steelers, it is one they couldn't pass up. They will be paying their quarterback room next to nothing in 2024 which is typically the best way to load up other areas of the roster in a given season. They will have plenty of cap space to work with after some roster moves opened up room for them to work.

Good on general manager Omar Khan for jumping on an opportunity that the Steelers likely wouldn't have done just a handful of years ago. Khan's aggressiveness in roster construction is welcome after years of the "Steeler Way" being followed by the front office.

While the addition of Wilson theoretically makes the Steelers better for 2024, that doesn't mean that they haven't done their part in potentially stalling Pickett's long-term NFL prospects.

It's no secret that last season's quarterback play was a huge factor in why the Steelers' season went the way it did. Pickett was in and out of the lineup with injury and had his development hampered by former offensive coordinator Matt Canada's play-calling. His overall situation was a recipe for disaster.

Pickett didn't push the ball down the field. Whether that was a Canada problem, a lack of trust from the team in Pickett, or a lack of faith in himself, the Steelers simply had no threat of offense without any willingness or allowance for passes beyond the sticks.

Canada's ineptitude hindered Pickett. That much can't be denied. Pickett even looked better for the six quarters post-Canada before his injury and subsequent benching ended his season. An argument could be made that if Pickett hadn't shown any promise in the game-and-a-half post-Canada, there would be no doubt the Steelers had to go in a different direction for 2024. Had they not at least signed a capable NFL starter in Wilson, they could've been holding on to false hope.

There's a good chance that Wilson doesn't sign in Pittsburgh if the organization didn't at least name him the incumbent starter without coming out and saying it. They'll label it as a competition with Wilson as the leader in the clubhouse. He'd likely have to look like he belongs in a retirement home to lose the job at St. Vincent. It's his job to lose.

The Steelers reportedly met with Pickett once Wilson was made available to discuss the potential of signing Wilson to the roster. While Pickett was said to be a true professional about it, there is no doubt he likely felt that he wasn't being given a real chance.

With just 13 touchdowns in his two seasons in Pittsburgh, the Steelers simply could not guarantee that Pickett is the guy heading into 2024. If he is able to beat out Wilson in training camp, that is a completely different story. Even if he does, it is very likely his leash is not going to be very long.

Last season was filled with locker room division over the quarterback position with much of the locker room seemingly leaning away from Pickett as the starting quarterback. The reality of life in the NFL is that, if you don't have a quarterback, you aren't going to win. The AFC is filled with star quarterbacks and the Steelers lacked in that department in 2023.

Pairing Pickett with Canada and a handful of diva-like wide receivers certainly didn't set Pickett up for success coming out of college. His time in Pittsburgh as the starter may be over. While he certainly didn't perform well enough to ensure himself as the starter for his third season in the NFL, his organization did not do right by him either. Really good quarterbacks come to overcome coaching deficiencies, but there is no doubt the Steelers didn't do their part in helping Pickett become a better player than he has so far in Pittsburgh.

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Source: Steelers Met With Kenny Pickett Before Signing Russ

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