Steelers trade Kenny Pickett to the Eagles

Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh’s short-lived but turbulent Kenny Pickett era is finished.

The Associated Press has been informed by numerous sources that the quarterback is being traded by the Steelers to the Philadelphia Eagles. Since the agreement was not formal, the sources could only speak under condition of anonymity.

In return for Kenny Pickett and Pittsburgh’s fourth-round pick this year, the Steelers will receive a third-round pick in the NFL draft this year and two seventh-round selections in the 2025 draft.

The transaction was made just hours after the Steelers acquired nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson to a one-year contract to challenge Kenny Pickett for the starting job. However, when the team reported for training camp at Saint Vincent College in July, Wilson seemed to have the upper hand.
Wilson declined to say he expected to be the starter when asked during his introductory press conference on Friday and added he and Kenny Pickett had connected shortly after Wilson agreed to terms with the team, saying they were both focused on making the Steelers better.

Kenny Pickett

Instead, Wilson now finds himself as the only quarterback on the roster after the club cut Mitch Trubisky and third-stringer Mason Rudolph — who guided the Steelers to the playoffs after Kenny Pickett underwent ankle surgery in early December — signed with Tennessee. Pickett, a first-round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2022, went 14-10 as a starter but struggled to stay healthy and be a difference maker for an offense that languished near the bottom of the league.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin appeared to give Pickett a vote of confidence after the end of the season while allowing that 2024 would be a “huge” year in terms of Pickett’s future.

General manager Omar Khan doubled down on Pickett at the NFL combine last month, saying the team had “full faith” that Pickett could mesh with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. Yet a week later the club brought free-agent-to-be Wilson in for a visit and agreed to terms on a one-year deal late Sunday night.

The stunning turn of events by the typically pragmatic Steelers ends a once-promising marriage between Pittsburgh and Pickett, a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021 while leading Pitt to its first ACC title.

The Steelers took Pickett 20th overall the following spring and he was thrust into the starting job at halftime of a Week 4 loss to the New York Jets. He didn’t put up eye-popping numbers but showed a knack for putting together late rallies, including wins over Baltimore and Oakland late in the 2022 season that offered a glimpse of what Pittsburgh thought he could become.

It never happened. The Steelers were sluggish much of the year and decided to fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada just before Thanksgiving.

Pickett looked solid in a promising win over Cincinnati under interim offensive coordiantor Eddie Faulkner and quarterbacks coach/playcaller Mike Sullivan. Yet Kenny Pickett had his ankle landed on while scrambling the next week against Arizona and underwent surgery.

Kenny Pickett

By the time the ankle had healed, the Steelers had caught fire under Rudolph and Pickett spent the final two weeks as Rudolph’s backup.
With Jalen Hurts already an established starter in Philadelphia, Kenny Pickett won’t have nearly as much attention.

Pickett, who was born and raised in central New Jersey, some 80 miles away from Lincolin Financial Field, will get the chance to start over in a career that has rapidly gone wrong.

In addition, the move adds some seasoned depth to the Eagles’ roster behind Hurts, whom Philadelphia selected in the 2020 draft after locking Carson Wentz down for a long time.


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