Steelers Eye Major WR Trade to Launch Russell Wilson Era

Steelers restructure offense, eye improvements with new signings.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Steelers Eye Major WR Trade to Launch Russell Wilson Era
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In an unexpected twist in the NFL, Russell Wilson has been released by the Denver Broncos, parting ways after a mere two seasons, despite a prior commitment through a five-year contract extension. The veteran quarterback quickly found a new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers during the bustling 2024 NFL free agency period.

Wilson, who signed a new contract, is poised to spearhead the Steelers' offense following the recent trade of Kenny Pickett. The Steelers are evidently recalibrating their offensive strategy under Wilson's leadership, having also recruited Justin Fields to succeed Mason Rudolph as the backup quarterback.

This restructuring extends to their receiver lineup as well, evidenced by their decision to trade top wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Current rumors suggest the team is actively searching for a formidable wide receiver to complement George Pickens and fortify their offensive front.

Strategic Trade Moves

Insight from Broncos insider Benjamin Allbright, shared via a screenshot on his X account, hints at the Steelers’ targeted moves in the trade market. The message revealed a strategic focus, stating, "Steelers trying to get Aiyuk for Russ." This potential acquisition would mark a significant bolstering of support for Wilson, who faces a crucial phase in his career after a challenging stint with both the Seahawks and the Broncos.

Amid these developments, the San Francisco 49ers are reportedly contemplating trading Brandon Aiyuk, who faces an uncertain future with the team due to salary cap constraints. Unable to secure a contract extension for Aiyuk, the 49ers appear poised to leverage his market value for other assets.

The Steelers, having recently offloaded Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, are well-positioned to fill their lineup void. With Wilson's financially advantageous contract—a mere million dollars this year—the Steelers possess the flexibility needed to pursue significant acquisitions like Aiyuk.

This move could provide Wilson with the robust offensive support required to revitalize his career and propel the Steelers forward. The decision by the Broncos to release Wilson, incurring a staggering $39 million salary cap penalty, underscores their readiness to transition away from the veteran quarterback.

Meanwhile, the Steelers’ strategic maneuvers in securing Wilson at a reduced rate demonstrate a savvy approach to team building and salary cap management, aimed at maximizing their competitive edge in the upcoming NFL season.

Steelers Russell Wilson