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NFL Insider Can’t See Steelers Making This Week 1 Quarterback Decision

There are a few different ways the Pittsburgh Steelers could approach their 2024 quarterback situation.

However, there’s one scenario ESPN NFL insider Jeff Darlington simply can’t envision.

Russell Wilson and Justin Fields are vying for Pittsburgh’s starting QB job. And while Wilson is the favorite to land the gig Week 1, there are many who believe the Steelers eventually will turn to Fields, as the latter is younger with more long-term upside.

So, why don’t the Steelers just start Fields over Wilson to begin the season? Well, it’s rather complicated, all variables considered.

“I’m always fascinated by that dynamic and how it plays into the actual decision-making process,” Darlington said this week on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “We’re talking about the court of public opinion here, in some ways, about how that sort of works out. Mike Tomlin does not feel like the type that would cave. But when you do lay out each possible scenario, it does feel like the best of three scenarios is the idea that Russell Wilson starts Week 1, struggles and then Justin Fields replaces him as the star.

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“I guess the best scenario for the Steelers is Russell Wilson starting Week 1 and starting Week 18 and leading them into the playoffs. And then, of course, the third (scenario), which we mentioned, would be the idea of Justin Fields starting the season. That does not feel, to (Tim Hasselback’s) point, like the best option.”

Wilson, who turns 36 in November, is a 13-year veteran with nine Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl ring in his back pocket. Fields, while talented, remains a mostly unproven 25-year-old who popped at times during his three seasons with the Chicago Bears but struggled to fully develop into a consistent franchise quarterback.

The Steelers definitely have playoff hopes in 2024, despite the deck being stacked against them in the AFC North, and transitioning from Wilson to Fields at some point feels much more plausible than the inverse.

Featured image via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images