Mike Tomlin has not yet named who the Steelers starting quarterback will be week one versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Most believe that veteran Mitch Trubisky will be eventually named starter. While that is the most likely outcome, we believe it would be a mistake. The sooner the Steelers get Kenny Pickett on the field to see what he has, the better off they will be.
The recent Russell Wilson contract tells you everything you need to know about quarterbacks and their affect on the salary cap. Quarterback salaries are spiraling out of control with Wilson being the latest example at $49 million per season. https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2022/09/01/broncos-russell-wilson-agree-to-five-year-contract-extension/
NFL teams only have a four year window at best to build a talented roster before their young quarterback starts demanding a second contract. Once that happens, the salary cap puzzle becomes infinitely harder to manage. (See Kyler Murray in Arizona). In short, it’s a race to win a championship before you have to pay a young talented quarterback.
If Kenny Pickett lives up to his first round status, Pittsburgh has very limited time to spend their cap space elsewhere. With that in mind, the quicker the Pickett gets on the field, the better off they will be. The clock is ticking, and there’s no sense wasting time with your first round pick on the bench.
The future salary cap is not the only reason to start Kenny Pickett. His play during the preseason, and throughout camp has proven he is ready to be the starter. This is no slight on Mitch Trubisky, who has been excellent as well. But if both players are even, and essentially they have been, then the Steelers simply must go with their first round pick from day one. It makes zero sense to have the future of your franchise sit and wait when he has accomplished everything the team could ask from him this off-season. The stats speak for themselves. Pickett went 19 for 22, 171 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions in preseason action. That’s good for a 138.6 passer rating.
It’s not just the gaudy stats, it’s the way Kenny Pickett fits into Matt Canada’s offense. He is a player who excels at making quick decisions, and getting rid of the ball on time. This is the perfect skillset for Canada’s quick pass offense. It’s also ideal playing behind an offensive line who promises not to give any Steelers starting quarterback much time to throw. Not only was he quick and decisive, he was also extremely accurate. His throws routinely were on target giving this talented wide receiver group opportunities not only to catch the ball, but do something with it down the field.
We have come full circle from our draft night take on the selection of Kenny Pickett. We believed the negatives outweighed the positives with this player. He has certainly proven us wrong with his play on the field. There is no sense delaying the inevitable. The future is now for both Kenny Pickett, and the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise.