4 QBs Steelers can acquire without trading away a first-round pick

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a new quarterback, and there are affordable options on the market.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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2. Steelers can sign the other (Russell) Wilson

Arthur Smith's downfall in Atlanta was his complete lack of faith in Desmond Ridder. Rather than letting Ridder manage the game and engineer explosive plays, he held his QB's hand the entire way. The training wheels were never taken off, and it led to Ridder constantly second-guessing his own decisions. Maybe (definitely?) Ridder isn't cut out for NFL quarterbacking, but either way, there's a strong case for getting a proper veteran in the building. One Smith can trust.

Enter Russell Wilson, who is in search of a new home after his Denver Broncos tenure presumably ended with a dull thud (and some controversial front-office tactics). Wilson was far from bad last season, completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 15 starts. He's no longer the perennial Pro Bowl QB of yesteryear, but yes, Wilson can still lead a winner. The Broncos were a winning team over the second half of the season.

For Pittsburgh, there's a certain stability to the idea of Wilson that doesn't exist for Pickett. He has been around the block — there's a sense of certainty that Wilson can manage his tasks under center and successfully engineer drives. At the very least, he has the résumé necessary to capture Smith's trust. That is paramount. The Steelers cannot afford another season of Pickett playing with one arm tied behind his back because his play-caller lacks ambition.

If the Steelers splurge for Wilson, it probably won't cost much relative to Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield, or other top free agents at the position. Wilson should be in prove-it mode after the Broncos screwed him over on the contract front. The Steelers are naturally appealing for two reasons. One, Wilson is a northeast kid, and two, Mike Tomlin doesn't lose. No matter how hard he appears to try. So, that level of sustained organizational success could be what draws Wilson to the East Coast for the first time in his historic career.