Broncos to bargain bin: QB Russell Wilson officially joins Steelers


Russell Wilson signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, sharing a snapshot of the signature moment at the team facility to social media.

Wilson, 35, was released by the Denver Broncos two years into a five-year, $245 million contract he signed after a trade ended his 10-year run with the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson, who first visited the New York Giants, quickly agreed to join the Steelers after meeting with coach Mike Tomlin and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

Not long after Wilson wrapped up his introductory press conference, the Steelers cleared the roster of any competition, trading former first-round pick Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles, according to reports.

“I was fortunate to have several teams call and all that, but this is where I wanted to be,” Wilson said Friday. “To be a Pittsburgh Steeler, to wear the black and gold — it’s a true honor. The tradition, the history. There’s six (Super Bowl) trophies in there. We’ve got to go get a seventh.”

Wilson said he spent an hour on FaceTime with defensive end Cam Heyward and had a separate 90-minute call with Tomlin a day after his visit began.

Cash committed by the Broncos sets the Steelers up for a serious bargain. Spotrac lists Wilson at No. 79 among quarterbacks in total contract value, behind the likes of Malik Cunningham (Ravens, $1.665 million), Tommy DeVito (Giants, $1.665M), Nate Sudfeld (Lions, $1.6M), Carson Wentz (Rams, $1.32M) and Kyle Allen (Bills, $1.232M).

The Steelers owe the former Super Bowl-winning quarterback and nine-time Pro Bowl pick just $1.2 million for 2024 because the Broncos are obligated to pay $38 million guaranteed in their five-year contract.

By divorcing from Wilson, Denver is taking on a record $85 million dead money hit on the salary cap.

Pittsburgh ownership was adamant there would be competition for Pickett, the Steelers’ 2022 first-round pick and the only other quarterback under contract. Mason Rudolph started three games and led Pittsburgh to the playoffs in 2023 but signed with the Tennessee Titans on Thursday and then Pickett was relocated.

“I think that winning is a habit. Coach knows what those habits are like. That’s what really fires me up,” said Wilson of feeling the fit in Pittsburgh was a natural one. “(General manager) Omar (Khan), obviously he’s done an amazing job of bringing this team together, and obviously our goal was to acquire some other great players.”

Wilson played in two offenses and under two head coaches in Denver. He was benched by Sean Payton for the last two games of the 2023 season. He said the move was a reaction to his resistance to the team demanding Wilson renegotiate his contract. The team’s concern was an injury would trigger guarantees in his contract beyond 2024.

Wilson posted an 11-19 record in 30 starts.

Wilson took Seattle to a pair of Super Bowls during a decorated decade with the Seahawks, winning a championship at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

He won 104 regular-season games as the starter in Seattle and has passed for 43,653 yards with 334 touchdowns and 106 interceptions in 188 career contests. He has added 5,307 rushing yards and 29 scores in 188 NFL starts.