Steelers Urged to Lock Down Justin Fields

The Pittsburgh Steelers should get Justin Fields a contract extension, according to one team insider.
Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) rushes the ball
Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) rushes the ball / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Justin Fields' rookie contract and with their top three quarterbacks on the roster each signed to just one year deals, it's never too early to start thinking about the future.

The Steelers will spend much of this coming season trying to figure out if Russell Wilson or Fields is a long-term option at quarterback but team insider Mark Kaboly of The Athletic says they can't afford to wait for Fields to hit free agency before they decide if he's worthy of an investment or not. So he has an easy solution.

"If the Steelers use 2024 to determine whether he is the long-term answer at the position, they would lose all of their leverage by allowing him to hit free agency," Kaboly wrote. "The prudent thing to do is extend him now at a reduced price to ensure that he will be on the roster in 2025 without a huge risk to the salary cap. The Packers did that with Jordan Love, albeit before the fifth-year option deadline."

Fields is just 25 years old and he's proven to be one of the most electric players in the NFL when he has the ball in his hands. But some inconsistencies as a passer have left some observers skeptical. The question is just how much Fields will be able to prove himself with Wilson entering 2024 as the presumed starter.

But even with Wilson penciled in as the starter going into the 2024 season, there isn't any certainty that he is a long-term option for the Steelers. Kaboly advises that the team doesn't offer Wilson an extension this offseason and keeps him on his one-year deal.

"Wilson is making the veteran minimum from the Steelers, and the Broncos are paying the rest of his $39 million salary. He will become a free agent next year, and the Steelers could lose out on him, but their hands are tied," Kaboly said. "You don’t extend a 35-year-old quarterback before he takes a snap for you. The Steelers have to hope that, if Wilson has a solid 2024 season, his priority is staying with them."

The Steelers have two quarterbacks to choose from moving forward or else it's back to the drawing board in the draft. Both Wilson and Fields come with risks, but the younger player could be the safer move.

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Stephen Thompson


Stephen Thompson graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science from Pitt in April 2022 after spending four years as a sports writer and editor at The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's independent, student-run newspaper. He primarily worked the Pitt men's basketball beat, and filled in on coverage of football, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and lacrosse, in addition to other sports as needed. His work at The Pitt News has won awards from the Pennsylvania News Media Association and Associated College Press. During the spring and summer of 2021, Stephen interned for Pittsburgh Sports Now, covering baseball in western Pennsylvania. Hailing from Washington D.C., family ties have cultivated a love of Boston's professional teams and Pitt athletics, and a fascination with sports in general.