Broncos' path to 2024 playoffs gets clearer with Wilson signing in Pittsburgh

Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

Multiple major outlets reported late on Saturday night that former Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson is expected to join the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year, $1.21 million deal, and will compete for a starting job with former first-round selection Kenny Pickett. Wilson is expected to be formally released from his contract at the start of the new league year on the 13th, but the Broncos had permitted him to begin seeking a new destination before that date.

Coming off a somewhat rebound of a 2023 campaign, Wilson will leave Denver and look to find a more suitable home in Pittsburgh, a team in desperate need of some offensive help. The Steelers, however, might not be a good fit for Wilson, and we could be having this same conversation about Russ this time next year. If anything, one could argue that this move makes the 2024 playoff picture a little clearer for the Broncos.

For one, the team has now officially moved on from Russell Wilson. Wilson and Jerry Jeudy, who is set to become a Cleveland Brown, had the two most notable stories for the Broncos in 2024, and neither was particularly good. Wilson faced critics until he was benched, and then seemingly all his critics disappeared, and Jeudy had a major dropoff following a 1,000 scrimmage-yard season.

Wilson will now move on to a weapons group that, like the Broncos', has failed some expectations. Najee Harris has the expectations of becoming one of the NFL's elite backs since being drafted, George Pickens has yet to solidify himself as a number one wide receiver, and Pat Freiermuth, who looks the part of a TE1, has found himself recovering from a massive injury that took most of his 2023 season away. All the while, the team is led by a head coach who is easily one of the better in the game but is chasing a second ring to cement his legacy in NFL history. Does any of this sound familiar?

As we have seen in Denver already, Wilson's game is not what it used to be. In the right system, he can be a playoff-caliber quarterback if he has a decent defense, a good running game, and a strong offensive line. However, these are just too many variables, and Wilson had almost all of that last year. The best case for Wilson, he beats out Pickett and wins the job in Pittsburgh. The odds he can lead the Steelers to legitimate contention, however, are incredibly slim, and the odds he turns them into a Super Bowl contender are even slimmer.


Ultimately, Wilson in Pittsburgh will help the Broncos on the chase for a playoff berth in 2024, considering what his game currently is and the system he needs around him.

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