Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Pittsburgh: Steelers Sign Former Rams Wr, Steelers New Stars Arrive In Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh: Steelers Sign Former Rams Wr, Steelers New Stars Arrive In PittsburghPittsburgh: Steelers Sign Former Rams Wr, Steelers New Stars Arrive In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – The newest members of the Pittsburgh Steelers are in town

PITTSBURGH — The newest members of the Pittsburgh Steelers are in town, set to introduce themselves as players for the black and gold for the first time.

Both quarterback Russell Wilson and inside linebacker Patrick Queen are in Pittsburgh, arriving just days after inking their deals with the Steelers. The team is set to introduce select free agent signings during a press conference on Friday, and both Wilson and Queen are expected to be in attendance, according to a team source.

Wilson made sure to hit some local spots in Pittsburgh before his introductory press conference. The new quarterback stopped to get a haircut and made his way over to Prospects Basketball practice.

Wilson is going to have to compete with Kenny Pickett for the starting job this season, but no matter what his role on the team is, he immediately becomes one of the biggest stars in the city of Pittsburgh.
As for Queen, sources say he’s set to experience driving through the tunnel and into the city for the first time this weekend as well. The newest member of the Steelers’ linebacker room has more excitement around him than any other free agent signing, and is expected to bring plenty of electricity to Acrisure Stadium this season – this time for the home team.

The Steelers have also added punter Cameron Johnston, safety DeShon Elliott through free agency, and cornerback Donte Jackson through a trade. They re-signed special teamers Miles Killebrew and Christian Kuntz, and defensive tackle Montravius Adams.

It’s unknown who exactly will speak at the introductory press conference or when all of the remaining additions will arrive in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers add a weapon to their wide receiver room.

Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Former Rams Wr, Steelers New Stars Arrive In Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Former Rams Wr, Steelers New Stars Arrive In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are adding a weapon to their wide receiver room, signing former Los Angeles Rams wideout Van Jefferson, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.

Jefferson, 27, is a former second-round pick out of Florida for the Rams and has spent all but 12 games of his four-year NFL career in Los Angeles. With 61 games of experience, including 35 starts, he’s recorded 113 receptions for 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Last season, he spent 12 weeks with Arthur Smith in Atlanta, catching 12 passes for 101 yards.

The Steelers needed an outside option after trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers. Jefferson will be viewed as a depth piece with starting capabilities and another weapon for Russell Wilson.

Currently, Pittsburgh’s wide receiver room includes George Pickens, Calvin Austin, and now Jefferson, but they are likely to add more names both through free agency and the NFL Draft.

Why Steelers turn the page on Kenny Pickett after 24 starts

PITTSBURGH — Six-hundred and eighty-seven days after he was drafted, Kenny Pickett, the No. 20 pick and quarterback owner Art Rooney II introduced on April 29, 2022, as the man who broke all of Dan Marino’s college records, is gone.

Traded to Philadelphia, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, hours after the Pittsburgh Steelers welcomed Russell Wilson into their building, Pickett’s departure doesn’t signal a complete overhaul of the old-school, loyal organization’s way of thinking.

If anything, it reinforces that core tenet at the heart of the franchise. It’s also an admission that the organization was wrong.

Limited by a talent level that fell short of his draft pick and stubborn decision-makers who stepped in too late, Pickett expressed displeasure with Wilson’s signing by requesting a trade.

It spelled the end of an era that some would argue never should have started.

The root of the problem, though, doesn’t lie with Pickett, but in the organization’s refusal to establish a clear succession plan behind Ben Roethlisberger.

In chasing ghosts of the past, the Steelers failed to adequately prepare for their future, preferring instead to rewrite the organization’s previous mistakes and hang on to the glory days.

And now, two years after Roethlisberger’s long-anticipated retirement, the team is exactly in the place it tried to avoid: square one … almost.

Signing Wilson, the impetus for Pickett’s journey across the Commonwealth keeps the Steelers from completely starting from scratch.

At age 35, Wilson’s best years are behind him, but he’s more than capable of being a solid bridge quarterback, especially coming off a season where he threw 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He said in a Friday news conference he “felt like myself again.”

It’s the type of move the Steelers arguably should’ve pursued two years ago to keep from reaching for a quarterback in a historically subpar draft class of signal-callers.

And they almost did, but after signing former first-round pick Mitch Trubisky to a modest two-year contract, the organization undercut the veteran by drafting Pickett less than two months later.

Of course, the Steelers could have avoided that scenario if they had invested any significant draft capital in the quarterback position.

Instead, the team drafted Mason Rudolph with a third-round pick in 2018. And after Rudolph’s selection was met with disdain by Roethlisberger, the team didn’t use another pick on a quarterback until Roethlisberger officially retired following a wild-card loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 16, 2022.

Though Roethlisberger returned from season-ending elbow surgery in 2019 for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, it was clear his days were numbered.

The team, though, let Roethlisberger largely dictate the end of his career. When Roethlisberger finally retired, the team had two quarterbacks on the roster: Rudolph and former first-rounder Dwayne Haskins. The team signed Trubisky in March 2022.

Haskins, who had shown some promise with a fresh start after starting his career with Washington, tragically died a month later.

The formula could’ve worked if the Steelers had drafted another quarterback that year.

Trubisky could’ve started for a season while a rookie developed behind the scenes and eventually took over in his second season – something akin to Patrick Mahomes working behind Alex Smith for a season.

But using a precious first-round pick on the city’s adopted son and Pitt football hero? Trubisky never stood a chance.

The chants for Pickett started from the moment training camp opened at St. Vincent College, and four weeks into the season, Tomlin yanked Trubisky for Pickett at halftime, unceremoniously beginning the rookie’s tenure as a starting quarterback.

Pickett found bursts of magic in his first season, leading three fourth-quarter comebacks, and he showed moxie and intangibles that suggested maybe the Steelers had hit on something.

But after what turned out to be a fools’ gold preseason, the fairy dust ran out. Pickett ended his Steelers tenure in uniform on the bench while Rudolph started a playoff game.

From the rubble of the Pickett fallout, the Steelers have the opportunity to construct a sturdier future.

With Pickett gone, the Steelers are no longer burdened by a first-round quarterback who falls short of expectations. There’s no longer a ticking clock counting the days until the club has to make a fifth-year option decision on him in May 2025.

Instead, the team has just one quarterback on the roster, one who spent time Friday afternoon expressing the joy he felt mentoring young teammates, and one who helped Jarrett Stidham, his presumed successor in Denver, prepare for his first start with the Broncos.

There also happens to be a former first-round quarterback on the trade market, one who could benefit from a year of learning from a consummate professional and Super Bowl-winning signal-caller.

In trading, Pickett, the Steelers opened the door to a possible trade for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields, something that seemed all but impossible while the organization – and most recently general manager Omar Khan – outwardly expressed “full faith” in their own young, homegrown quarterback.

With Pickett’s departure, the pretenses can be dropped, and the Steelers have an opportunity not for a do-over, but for establishing a clear path forward without any baggage from the past.

In two years since he took over following the 2022 draft, Khan has proved capable of bucking Steelers traditions with big-name free-agent signings and trades at the deadline and during the draft.

A couple of breaths after expressing that faith in Pickett in Indianapolis two weeks ago, Khan also said the position would have “strong competition.” And though he grinned as reporters asked him about the possibility of signing free agent quarterbacks or making a splash trade, Khan was also clear that he had “an obligation to look at every avenue that’s out there to try to make us a better football team.”

Steelers Sign Former Ravens Safety

The Pittsburgh Steelers add the former Ravens and Dolphins defensive back.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have added to their safety room, signing former Miami Dolphins defensive back DeShon Elliott, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

Elliott and the Steelers are signing a two-year deal worth $6 million. The 26-year-old comes from Miami, where he spent one season with the Dolphins, starting 15 games and recording 82 tackles, one interception, and seven passes defensed.

Prior to Miami, he spent a year with the Detroit Lions after spending his first three with the Baltimore Ravens. He was Baltimore’s sixth-round pick in 2018.

In five years in the NFL, Elliott has played 57 games, including 50 starts. He’s recorded 287 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, 17 passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Last season, he allowed just 69.2% of passes thrown his way to be completed.

Elliott signs with the Steelers with an opportunity to start right away. After the release of Keanu Neal, Elliott joins Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, and Miles Killebrew in the safety room. He’ll likely operate in rotation with Kazee and Fitzpatrick on defense.

He re-joins his former teammate Patrick Queen as two of the biggest signings the Steelers have made in free agency.

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