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Steelers expected to decline Justin Fields’ fifth-year option: report

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The quarterback carousel doesn’t appear to be stopping in Pittsburgh any time soon. 

The Steelers acquired Justin Fields in a low risk trade with the Chicago Bears last month in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in next year’s draft, but according to ESPN, Pittsburgh does not plan to pick up Fields’ $25 million fifth-year option. 

The decision comes after the Steelers signed Russell Wilson to a one-year deal on the league’s $1.21 million veteran’s minimum salary, meaning both quarterbacks will be jostling for a contract extension by the end of the season. 

During the annual NFL owners meeting in Florida last month, head coach Mike Tomlin leaned into Wilson’s experience but said that Fields will have the opportunity to compete for the starting role.

“We’re not resistant to competition, but as I’ve mentioned several times of late, I just think it’s appropriate to establish positioning. . . . and the term that I’ve used is Russell has pole position,” Tomlin said. “And why do I use that term? Because during this time where we are not formally working, I just think it’s beneficial. His experience in the National Football League, his process has been honed and perfected.”

Justin Fields warms up


“All the things that people really committed to winning do this time of the year, Russell has those resources, that structure,” Tomlin continued. “And so that’s why I say he has pole position. It just creates a synergy that I think is good for this time of year. When it’s time to compete and we get in training camp-like settings and we’re going to stadiums and so forth, obviously Justin will be given an opportunity to show people.”

Once looked to as the future of the Bears organization, Fields was traded after just three seasons in Chicago. He completed 578 of 958 passes for 6,674 yards with 40 touchdowns and 30 interceptions during that time. 

Justin Fields scrambles

He has just one 300-yard passing game in his career.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have undergone a complete transformation of their quarterback room. Kenny Pickett asked for a trade shortly after Wilson’s arrival, Mitch Trubisky was cut and Mason Rudolph signed with the Tennessee Titans. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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