Jan 7, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) run in the open field against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Steelers sign RB/KR Cordarrelle Patterson

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed running back and return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson to a two-year, $6 million contract, NFL Network and ESPN reported Tuesday.

After reinventing himself as a running back for the past three seasons in Atlanta, Patterson will follow former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith to Pittsburgh, where the latter is now the offensive coordinator.

Patterson entered the league as a wide receiver and a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2013. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, a four-time first-team All-Pro selection and a two-time second-team All-Pro as a returner over the first eight years of his career with Minnesota (2013-16), Oakland (2017), New England (2018) and Chicago (2019-20).

Patterson, 33, has returned nine kicks for touchdowns in his career, though just one in his past three seasons. He led the league in kick return yardage in 2019 (825) and 2020 (1,017).

He started 13 games at running back for Atlanta in 2021, appearing in 16 games total, and had a career-high 1,166 yards from scrimmage (618 rushing, 548 receiving). In three seasons with the Falcons, Patterson tallied 1,494 rushing yards, 708 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Feb 12, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the Super Bowl Host Committee Handoff press conference at the Super Bowl LVIII media center at the Mandalay Bay North Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL moves trade deadline to after games in Week 9

NFL owners voted Tuesday at the annual league meeting in Orlando, Fla., to move the trade deadline to the Tuesday after the games in Week 9.

That represents a full week later than the previous deadline, which was the Tuesday following the games in Week 8. The move of the trade deadline allows teams to better prepare for a playoff push during the 17-game season.

The 2024 NFL trade deadline is Nov. 5.

When the league expanded to a 17-game schedule in 2021, the trade deadline was not moved. This shift puts the deadline back to a more traditional alignment in the league calendar.

The Pittsburgh Steelers initially proposed for the deadline to be pushed to after the games in Week 9, while the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Commanders proposed for the deadline to be extended after the contests in Week 10.

–Field Level Media

Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reacts in the in the second half against the Buffalo Bills in a 2024 AFC wild card game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin: Russell Wilson has ‘pole position’ for Steelers’ No. 1 QB

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has two starter-quality quarterbacks on his roster, but only one can start.

Tomlin offered some insight Sunday on newcomers Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, Tomlin’s potential starters after the team traded Kenny Pickett.

“We’ve been very transparent about the pecking order, at least to start,” Tomlin told reporters at the NFL’s league meetings in Orlando, Fla. “I just think that provides clarity for all parties involved.”

That clarity indicates Wilson, 35, has the inside track after a roller-coaster two years with the Denver Broncos.

“Russell is a veteran, man,” Tomlin said. “He’s got a proven process of readiness. He’s been in this league a long time, and he’s capable of rallying troops, receivers, tight ends and running backs.”

Tomlin said Wilson, who reached two Super Bowls with the Seattle Seahawks, winning one, has a grasp of how to cultivate leadership over an extended amount of time — something that will provide a benefit for Fields as the quarterbacks “do some of the informal things at this time of the year.”

Fields, 25, threw for 2,562 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games last season for the Chicago Bears. He added 657 rushing yards and four scores.

He was traded to the Steelers this offseason in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2025 that could become a fourth-rounder if certain parameters are met.

Tomlin stopped short of calling Wilson his Week 1 starter.

“Rest assured, when it’s time to compete, Justin will (be) given an opportunity to compete,” he said, “and we’ll allow those guys to sort themselves out. But I thought it was appropriate to describe it in a way for when we get started. Russell’s in pole position, and I think his body of work justifies that.

“And just from my conversations with Justin, he is excited about working alongside Russell and learning some of those veteran tricks of the trade from … a guy who has been around for over a decade.”

The Steelers finished 10-7 last season, losing 31-17 to the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card playoff round.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers QB Justin Fields ‘ready for this next chapter’

Justin Fields said goodbye to Chicago following his trade from the Bears to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.

“Can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago for taking me in and embracing me,” Fields posted on social media. “Thank you to the entire Bears organization and ownership for allowing me the opportunity to be part of such a historic franchise. But most of all thank you to my all my brothers that I played with. You all were the reason I attacked each day the way I did. I can’t thank you all enough for what y’all have meant to me over the last 3 years through the ups and downs. I wish each one of you nothing but success. Ready for this next chapter!”

The next chapter apparently will be as the backup to veteran quarterback Russell Wilson. The Steelers have seen an overhaul of their quarterback room, with Wilson signing a one-year deal, former starter Kenny Pickett being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, Mitchell Trubisky returning to the Buffalo Bills, longtime backup Mason Rudolph signing as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans and the acquisition of Fields for a conditional sixth-round draft pick.

That pick could become a fourth-rounder if Fields plays at least 50 percent of the snaps for Pittsburgh.

Reports Sunday indicated Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reached out to both Wilson and Fields as the deal was closed on Saturday to let them know Wilson currently stands as the starter and Fields as QB2.

For his part, Wilson welcomed Fields on social media.

“Let’s get it @justnfields! QB room bout to be (three fire emojis),” he wrote.

Only 25, Fields threw for 2,562 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 starts in 2023.

He completed 61.4 percent of his throws and rushed for 657 yards and four touchdowns. Fields suffered a right thumb injury and missed four games last season for the 7-10 Bears.

The Bears selected him No. 11 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The deal opens the door for Chicago to draft a quarterback, widely expected to be Southern California’s Caleb Williams, with the No. 1 overall selection.

–Field Level Media

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 7, 2024, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won the game, 17-9, to clinch an NFC playoff berth.
Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Reports: Bears sending QB Justin Fields to Steelers

Quarterback Justin Fields is heading from the Chicago Bears to the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to multiple reports.

The Bears acquire a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick that, should Fields exceed 50 percent snaps this coming season, would become a fourth-round selection according to ESPN.

Still only 25, Fields threw for 2,562 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 starts in 2023.

He completed 61.4 percent of his throws and rushed for 657 yards and four touchdowns.

Pittsburgh signed veteran quarterback Russell Wilson and traded Kenny Pickett to Philadelphia this week. Pickett started 24 games in his two years with the Steelers.

An ESPN source said Fields is unlikely to be the starter in Pittsburgh, at least to begin the season.

The deal opens the door for Chicago to draft a quarterback, widely expected to be Southern California’s Caleb Williams, with the No. 1 overall selection.

“No one wants to live in gray, I know that’s uncomfortable,” Bears general manager Ryan Poles said Feb. 27. “I wouldn’t want to be in that situation either. So, we will gather the information, we will move as quickly as possible, we are not going to be in a rush and see what presents itself and what’s best for the organization.”

Fields suffered a right thumb injury and missed four games last season for the 7-10 Bears.

– Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Steelers trade QB Kenny Pickett to Eagles

The Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday traded quarterback Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles for three draft picks, multiple outlets reported.

The Steelers also gave up a fourth-round draft pick (No. 120 overall) in this year’s draft, according to ESPN. Pittsburgh will receive a third-round draft pick (No. 98 overall) this year and two seventh-round draft picks in 2025.

The trade comes after veteran quarterback Russell Wilson agreed to a one-year deal this week to join the Steelers.

The move slots Pickett behind Jalen Hurts as the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback. Pickett, 25, made 12 starts for the Steelers last season, with the team going 7-5 in those games. He completed 62.0 percent of his passes in 2023 for 2,070 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions.

Pickett was expected to return from an ankle injury and close out the 2023 regular season as the Steelers’ starter, but Mason Rudolph ended up as the starter over the final three weeks of the season. Pittsburgh won all three of those games and qualified for the playoffs.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said health was not a consideration for his decision to start Rudolph over Pickett in the Week 18 regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

Pickett was the 20th overall selection out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2022 draft, Pickett completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 4,474 yards and 13 TDs with 13 interceptions.

The Steelers now will be on the market for a backup quarterback.

Pittsburgh parted ways with Mitchell Trubisky, who signed a two-year contract to back up Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills. Rudolph signed with the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday to compete with Will Levis and Malik Willis for the starting job.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks on from the sideline in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos to bargain bin: QB Russell Wilson officially joins Steelers

Russell Wilson signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, sharing a snapshot of the signature moment at the team facility to social media.

Wilson, 35, was released by the Denver Broncos two years into a five-year, $245 million contract he signed after a trade ended his 10-year run with the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson, who first visited the New York Giants, quickly agreed to join the Steelers after meeting with coach Mike Tomlin and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

Cash committed by the Broncos sets the Steelers up for a serious bargain. Spotrac lists Wilson at No. 79 among quarterbacks in total contract value, behind the likes of Malik Cunningham (Ravens, $1.665 million), Tommy DeVito (Giants, $1.665M), Nate Sudfeld (Lions, $1.6M), Carson Wentz (Rams, $1.32M) and Kyle Allen (Bills, $1.232M).

The Steelers owe the former Super Bowl-winning quarterback and nine-time Pro Bowl pick just $1.2 million for 2024 because the Broncos are obligated to pay $38 million guaranteed in their five-year contract.

By divorcing from Wilson, Denver is taking on a record $85 million dead money hit on the salary cap.

Pittsburgh ownership was adamant there would be competition this season for Kenny Pickett, the Steelers’ 2022 first-round pick and the only other quarterback under contract. Mason Rudolph started three games and led Pittsburgh to the playoffs in 2023 but signed with the Tennessee Titans on Thursday.

Wilson played in two offenses and under two head coaches in Denver. He was benched by Sean Payton for the last two games of the 2023 season. He said the move was a reaction to his resistance to the team demanding Wilson renegotiate his contract. The team’s concern was an injury would trigger guarantees in his contract beyond 2024.

Wilson posted an 11-19 record in 30 starts.

Wilson took Seattle to a pair of Super Bowls during a decorated decade with the Seahawks, winning a championship at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

He won 104 regular-season games as the starter in Seattle and has passed for 43,653 yards with 334 touchdowns and 106 interceptions in 188 career contests. He has added 5,307 rushing yards and 29 scores in 188 NFL starts.

–Field Level Media

Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) runs the ball in the second half against the Buffalo Bills in a 2024 AFC wild card game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Steelers deal WR Diontae Johnson to Panthers

The Carolina Panthers acquired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson on Tuesday in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson, multiple reports said.

The teams are also swapping late picks, with Carolina sending its sixth-rounder to Pittsburgh but receiving a seventh-rounder.

Johnson, 27, has started 67 of his 77 career games over five NFL seasons in Pittsburgh. In that time he has made 391 receptions for 4,363 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Johnson’s best season came in 2021, when he racked up 107 catches, 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns and earned a Pro Bowl selection.

He joins a Panthers team whose top target was 33-year-old slot receiver Adam Thielen, who is coming off a 1,000-yard year. The Panthers are entering Year 2 of quarterback Bryce Young’s career, with Dave Canales taking over as head coach.

Jackson, 28, spent his first six NFL campaigns in Carolina. He started 16 games last season, which was his first without at least one interception. He has 14 career interceptions and 46 pass breakups in 80 games (76 starts).

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen (6) runs with the ball after intercepting a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Report: LB Patrick Queen lands 3-year, $41M deal with Steelers

Free-agent linebacker Patrick Queen, who spent his first four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, is joining the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on a three-year, $41 million contract, ESPN reported Tuesday.

A first-round pick of the Ravens in 2020, Queen signed a four-year, $12.1 million rookie contract that included a $6.4 million signing bonus. Baltimore declined his fifth-year option, which would have cost the team a guaranteed $12.7 million for the 2024 season.

Queen, 24, is coming off his first Pro Bowl campaign. He compiled a career-high 133 tackles along with 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, six pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception.

Queen started in all 67 games the past four seasons. He totaled 454 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 33 quarterback hits, 15 pass breakups, five forced fumbles, four interceptions and a fumble return for a touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (right) and his brother fullback Derek Watt (44) embrace before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Watt retires after 7 NFL seasons

Derek Watt, the middle brother in the football-playing Watt brothers trio, announced his retirement from the NFL.

A fullback, Watt was selected by the then-San Diego Chargers in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played his first four seasons with the Chargers, then joined younger brother T.J. with the Pittsburgh Steelers for three seasons. He did not play in the NFL last season.

In an lengthy statement posted, Watt said he was “just a kid from Pewaukee, WI who had the chance to live out his childhood dream of being drafted and playing in the NFL. And now, it is with great honor and gratitude that I officially announce my retirement and the end to my career … a career that ended up being about so much more than just the game that I love.”

He also thanked his parents and his two brothers, including J.J., who retired after the 2022 season. T.J. and J.J. Watt were named NFL Defensive Player of the Year — younger brother T.J. in 2021 and older brother J.J. in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

“To JJ & TJ … From playing in the backyard, to sharing a field in the NFL, this journey together has been absolutely incredible. They say if you want to be great, then you should surround yourself with greatness … You both have pushed me to be the best that I could be and it’s been so special to see all the hard work that we put in and sacrifices that we made pay off!”

Derek Watt retires after gaining 249 yards from scrimmage and scoring three touchdowns in 110 games (20 starts). He also was a presence on special teams, playing more than 60 percent of his team’s snap count in each of six seasons.

–Field Level Media