Revealed: Truth About Russell Wilson-Steelers Drama Involving Kenny Pickett, Mike Tomlin & the Giants

Published 04/08/2024, 4:16 PM EDT

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When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles within five days of signing Russell Wilson. Fans and critics alike were confused at the unexpected switch when the coach, Mike Tomlin, had previously promised “competition” for their quarterback.

While initially, some criticized Pickett for backing down in the face of competition, a share of the blame went to the Steelers after certain details of the signing of the former Denver veteran came to light. Recently, an NFL analyst revealed the full picture of what went on behind the scenes, and it involved more entities than expected, including Mason Rudolph and the New York Giants.

Russell Wilson wanted a guaranteed starter position


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NFL writer John Frascella took to X to share his findings from a “trusted source” about the unexpected turn of events surrounding the Steelers quarterback situation. The tale began at the Scouting Combine when GM Omar Khan confirmed that Pickett would stay in the team but would have “competition in the room.” While the QB’s last season’s performance wasn’t up to the mark due to multiple injuries, it seemed like the 2022 draft would have another season in Pittsburgh to prove himself. However, something shifted when the franchise met with Russell Wilson.

Reportedly, the former Broncos QB had one condition for the signing: to be the starter, which would abolish the competitiveness Pickett was offered. Wilson presented this condition at the meeting with the Giants as well, but when the Giants refused to make any promises, the deal fell flat.

Meanwhile, backup QB Mason Rudolph had reached common ground with the Steelers and was prepping for his next season ahead. Reportedly, he had already communicated with Pickett about practicing together, but was forced to cancel the plans in light of a change of heart by the Steelers. He was left high and dry as the team revoked the deal unexpectedly. After getting a call from his backup about the new changes, Pickett decided to reach out to his head coach, but was left unanswered.

Kenny Pickett was unhappy at the Steelers’ unfulfilled promise of “competition”

Mike Tomlin returned the QB’s call the next day, but it was already after a major announcement had taken place. According to Tom Pelissero, Pickett got to know about Wilson’s signing through social media the night before. During the call the next morning, Tomlin informed the 25-year-old that the veteran was promised the pole position and was fixed as the starter.


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Understandably displeased by the sudden change of route taken by his draft team, Pickett asked for a trade and was soon joined by the Eagles. This brings us to speed with the current scenario: the former Steelers QB, reportedly feeling wronged by the promise of competition broken by his team, is now the backup to Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. Rudolph has found his new home in Tennessee as the No. 2 to Will Levis, and Justin Fields joins Wilson in Pittsburgh.


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With the players involved in the drama gearing up for their next season, it will be interesting to see if there is any resentment still festering in the quarterbacks, especially Pickett. As of now, the players have maintained neutral stances and chosen not to comment on the situation, instead focusing on bettering their performance in the 2024 season.

Read This: Eagles News: Kenny Pickett Dubbed ‘A Better Move’ Than Justin Fields, Whose Future With Bears Hangs in the Balance


Written by:

Sneha Singh


One take at a time

Sneha Singh is an NFL beat writer at EssentiallySports in the NFL division. She brings immense experience and creativity to the team, courtesy of her line of work as a writing head and web content writer at esteemed organizations. Having developed a liking for the game of touchdowns and tackles since a young age, Sneha harbors prowess over covering in-depth live coverages and off-field fan action.
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Edited by:

Garima Yadav