Steelers continue overhaul of quarterback position, but will they use Justin Fields in other ways?

The Steelers have completely overhauled their quarterback depth chart. Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitch Trubisky are gone. Russell Wilson has arrived. Now, Justin Fields will join him.

They got both at bargain-basement rates. Wilson for the league minimum, since the Broncos owe him the rest of his $39 million salary for 2024. Fields for little more than $3.2 million, in the final year of his slotted rookie deal.

Will they compete for the starting job? Perhaps. If, in the end, Wilson is the starter, it’s tempting to wonder whether they’ll use both of them.

Rewind to 1995. Kordell Stewart was a rookie. Neil O’Donnell was the starter. Stewart made cameo appearances in a hybrid role, earning the nickname “Slash.” It was good enough to get the Steelers to the Super Bowl.

So will Fields now be Slash 2.0?

It would be a great way to maximize Pittsburgh‘s return on a minimal investment. And it could give opposing defenses fits.

Ultimately, it’s not about putting the best quarterback on the field. It’s about using the best 11 offensive players. Fields will be one of them, even if he’s QB2. Why not use him?

New offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is surely already thinking about the possibilities of creating mismatches with both Wilson and Fields, who has been one of the most dangerous running quarterbacks of the past two NFL seasons.

However it plays out, this is what “all-in” looks like. The Steelers have many strengths. They also had a glaring weakness. And they’ve addressed it. Not by forking over $100 million guaranteed for a pocket passer with a torn Achilles tendon but with a total 2024 investment of less than $4.5 million for two guys who will be better than what they had.

Watch out, AFC North. Watch out, rest of the conference.

Oh, mama, I’m in fear for my life.

If Wilson still has the skills that made him so attractive to the Broncos two years ago and if Fields can play like he has in 2022 and 2023, every team Pittsburgh faces will need to be almost as concerned about the offense as they’ve typically been about the defense.

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