JJ Watt explains why Russell Wilson with Steelers makes perfect sense

JJ Watt explains why Russell Wilson with Steelers makes perfect sense

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One week before free agency kicked off, J.J. Watt sat in London and pondered a question from Fox News Digital; where will Russell Wilson be playing in 2024? 

“I would put Russell Wilson in Pittsburgh,” Watt said after some thought. 

He was correct, of course, as Wilson made his intentions clear three days after Watt’s prediction, when he posted to social media that he was heading to Pittsburgh. 


JJ Watt listens

Former NFL player and TV analyst J.J. Watt looks on before Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 11, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Wilson signed a one-year, $1.12 million, veteran minimum deal to become the team’s new starting quarterback after two disappointing seasons with the Denver Broncos, who released him but will still pay him $38 million this year. 

Watt explained why Wilson’s position in Pittsburgh is perfect for both sides. 


“I think Russell Wilson being able to sign a vet minimum deal while still getting paid full $38 million by the Broncos puts him in a very unique position to be able to choose where he wants to go, where he feels like he can make a significant impact. Also, the team can bring him in at a serious value,” Watt said while also discussing his partnership with DICK’S House of Sport, DICK’S Sporting Goods’ larger and more-experiential store concept. 

“Let’s say after a few weeks or halfway through the season, you’re like, ‘All right, this isn’t working out,’ you still have your options there. I think it’s a low-risk, high-reward potential for a team like Pittsburgh.”

The option Watt originally thought about was Kenny Pickett, but the Steelers’ quarterbacks room has changed significantly since Watt made his prediction. 

Pickett was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, and there were reports that his attitude after the Wilson signing contributed to that. Additionally, on Saturday night, the Steelers made another shocking trade, reaching a deal with the Chicago Bears for Justin Fields

Russell Wilson vs Patriots

Russell Wilson, #3 of the Denver Broncos, scrambles out of the pocket during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Empower Field at Mile High on Dec. 24, 2023 in Denver. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Tomlin has reportedly assured Wilson that he is the starter even with Fields on the roster. However, to Watt’s point, if things do not work out with Wilson to begin the season, they have the option to go to the younger Fields, who is looking to prove himself after three seasons in Chicago. 

Since Watt retired after the 2022 season, he wants things to go well in Pittsburgh with his brother, 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, leading the Steel City’s defense. 

His brother’s work on defense, along with players such as Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick, virtually willed the Steelers to a playoff berth last season as the offense continued its struggles. 

While all fingers cannot be pointed at the quarterback situation – offensive coordinator Matt Canada was fired midway through the year – Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph all have not been able to provide consistency at the position since Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. 

With Wilson on board, Pittsburgh is hoping the offense can be more efficient and score more points in 2024. Perhaps with Wilson only under contract for one season, the Steelers could be grooming Fields for the starting role after 2024. 

Russell Wilson warms up

Russell Wilson, #3 of the Denver Broncos, warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High on Dec. 31, 2023 in Denver. (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)


As Watt mentioned, either way, the Steelers do not have much to lose with Wilson under center in 2024. Wilson, looking to prove he can still compete and bring a team to the playoffs, gets the chance to do so on a team that has not been under .500 since Tomlin became head coach. 

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