QB Controversey for Steelers? Justin Fields on Russell Wilson: ‘We’re Definitely Competing’

Justin Fields is not giving up the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback role up so easy.

A large contingent of NFL fans and analysts have said Justin Fields’ career has not started off the way he wants because of poor coaching — not the actual quarterback.

Perhaps that’s why, despite being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, the former first-round quarterback out of Ohio State is set to compete for the starting job with Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson.

Despite all the recent backlash of his time in Chicago, Fields has been focused and honored to be competing in Pittsburgh instead.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Controversy

Before the Steelers traded for Fields, the quarterback battle was expected to be between former first-round pick Kenny Pickett and Wilson, who signed with the team in free agency.

Pickett became enraged that the Steelers reportedly backed away from an equal quarterback competition and instead chose to give Wilson the edge. Pickett has since been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Steelers have since changed their tune entirely after the trade for Fields. In fact, the former Ohio State product made things clear that the competition at starting quarterback was far from over.

“I’m definitely competing,” Fields said. “Russ knows that. We’re competing against each other every day … I definitely don’t have the mindset of me just sitting all year.”

Fields is coming off a season in which he completed 61% of his passes for 16 touchdown passes and had a passer rating of 86.3. He set career highs in completion percentage and passes completed.

Despite the upward trajectory, Fields was consistently the worst quarterback in the second half of games and struggled to consistently push the ball downfield through the air.

MORE: 2024 NFL Quarterback Rankings

Wilson, on the other hand, enjoyed somewhat of an improved mark under Sean Payton in 2023. The former Wisconsin product threw for 26 touchdown passes and over 3,000 yards. The 26 touchdowns and efficiency mark were each the highest for him since 2020.

Wilson may be seen as the frontrunner for the Steelers’ QB1 job, but Fields simply isn’t going to give it away so easily.

Fields and Wilson Contract Details

Both Fields and Wilson are entering the final year of their deals in 2024.

Wilson is carrying a cap hit of just over $1 million — a crazy value for a player with multiple Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring to their resume.

After a 10-year run with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson lasted just two years with the Broncos after being traded and signing a $245 million contract. He has now found a home in Pittsburgh, where the 36 year old is trying to find the last bit of good football left in him.

Fields has a cap hit of over $3 million. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal and recently had his fifth-year option declined following the trade to Pittsburgh.

Despite the questions surrounding his contract, Fields made it clear while he was still in Chicago that Pittsburgh was the place he wanted to be.

“I’m nowhere near my ceiling,” Fields said. “I’m not the same quarterback I was last year. I have to compete to get better every day.”

Who Should Be Steelers’ QB1?

Based on numbers alone, there’s no logical reason why Fields should be the Steelers’ starter. For a team with championship aspirations, the former Bears quarterback has shown no ability to enhance the talent around him and consistently win from the pocket.

This isn’t to say that Wilson doesn’t have his issues. He most certainly does.

KEEP READING: Everything You Need to Know About the Steelers’ 2024 Schedule

But in the grand scheme of competing in a loaded AFC North, who should Steelers fans trust more: a quarterback who has won in the past but is struggling towards the end of his career, or a player who has character, passing, and overall viability concerns?

The answer is simple: If the Steelers want to win in 2024, Wilson has to be the starting quarterback.

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