The Pittsburgh Steelers right now are in quarterback purgatory. We don’t know if they are going to ride with Kenny Pickett or Mason Rudolph, trade for a veteran like Justin Fields, sign Russell Wilson, draft a new prospect. 

The NFL combine is next weekend and the legal tampering period, which kicks off NFL free agency, opens on March 11th so we are going to get some kind of answer over the next two weeks. For now, let’s take a look at the current roster, depth chart, contracts, and salary cap to make some predictions for free agency both for Steelers fans and fantasy football fans alike!

*The salary cap numbers referenced in this article come courtesy of our friends over at*

Fantasy Football Depth Chart: Pittsburgh Steelers


Kenny Pickett

Mason Rudolph

Running Back

Najee Harris

Godwin Igwebuike

Running Back

Jaylen Warren

Alfonzo Graham

Wide Receiver

Diontae Johnson


Wide Receiver

George Pickens

Myles Boykin

Wide Receiver

Allen Robinson

Calvin Austin

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth

Connor Heyward

Tight End

Darnell Washington

Rodney Williams

White = unrestricted free agent

Green = role is safe

Yellow = role could be in jeopardy

Red = could be traded or released




Kenny Pickett: The rumor mill is all over the place on this one so let me give you the quick rundown. Originally there were rumors that the Steelers were interested in trading for Justin Fields because Mike Tomlin reportedly likes him. Very recently, rumors emerged that the Steelers are content with Pickett and Rudolph at QB. So, of course, even more recently, Chad Ochocinco suggests that he has inside info that Russell Wilson will sign with the Steelers once he’s released. Just a mess.

What do I think? I think the Steelers would be open to a veteran QB but are posturing in the event it doesn’t happen by saying, “We like what we have”. If you say, “We don’t like our QBs” and then you don’t get a new QB, you put a damper on everything. From a fantasy football standpoint, guys like Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph don’t have much upside to me even if they are the starter in 2024 given their playstyle and what Arthur Smith likes to do. So it’s a big ask but I would sell either of them for any thing, if you can.

Mason RudolphI kind of just laid out my take for both players so in this section I’ll just reiterate. Mason Rudolph's best year was throwing 13 TDs, 9 picks in 10 games. Kenny Pickett actually has never thrown more than eight. The odds of either of these guys bouncing back to be a long-term starter at all is low. And the odds they are a top-half starter is even lower. Play the odds.

STEELERS QB FREE AGENCY TAKE: There will always be a contingency of fans that have hitched their wagons to a player. There are Kenny Pickett fans. There are Mason Rudolph fans. But even those fans have to agree that someone like Kirk Cousins is clearly a better QB. Someone like Justin Fields is simply more exciting. The Steelers are loaded with weapons on offense and you don’t want to waste this window of opportunity. Here are some QBs that I think are better than Pickett or Rudolph that are available.

POSSIBLE FREE AGENT QB OPTIONS: Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields (via trade), Baker Mayfield, Ryan Tannehill, Gardner Minshew


Running Back

Najee HarrisI’m just warning fantasy football gamers right now - do not be shocked when the Steelers pick up the fifth-year option for Najee Harris. They like Harris. He’s been a good player. We live in the age of multiple RBs on teams. The number we just learned, of $6.79 million, is not that crazy. 

Since he joined the league three years ago, he has the fourth most rushing yards of any running back behind only Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry. Jaylen Warren fans want Najee gone so that he can play more but there is a very real chance Najee Harris doesn’t hit free agency until at least 2026. He’ll be on the team in 2024 at the very least. 

Jaylen WarrenJaylen Warren is awesome. He’s great on pass downs and he’s explosive with the ball in space. He’s among the top of the league in all the evasive efficiency stats we like to see - per sites like Pro Football Focus, Player Profiler, and NFL Next Gen Stats he’s top 10 in yards per touch, breakaway run rate, juke rate, broken tackles, yards over expected - you name it. 

This is really shaping up like Dallas where they had an explosive Tony Pollard operating in space and a hard-hitting Najee Harris for the tough stuff. Which is a great combo for an NFL team but caps both their ceilings to some degree for fantasy football. Najee is 26 years old and Warren is 25 so we’re all just going to have to deal with at least one more (and possibly two more) years of a split backfield.

Godwin IgwebuikeThe good thing about having two top end RBs is you can use your depth to focus on special teams, which is what the Steelers did. Igwebuike was the primary kick returner for the Steelers and he’s a restricted free agent if they want to bring him back. That number would be $2.8 million which might be a little rich for his services so I think they’ll looking at working out a lower AAV deal or finding someone else.

Alfonzo GrahamAlfonzo Graham was added as an undrafted free agent but he missed the entire season with a torn labrum. As he can be cut with virtually no dead cap, he doesn’t have too much of a leg up on the rest of the competition but he’ll be in the mix to fill out the depth chart.

STEELERS RB FREE AGENCY TAKE: Starting reps are set so they just need to fill out depth. If Igwebuike isn’t back for 2024, here are some options for depth that also return kicks.

POSSIBLE FREE AGENT QB OPTIONS: Antonio Gibson, Ty Johnson, Craig Reynolds, Trayveon Williams, Boston Scott, Rico Dowdle, Deejay Dallas


Wide Receiver

Diontae JohnsonDiontae Johnson is a prototypical flanker in the NFL and, outside of a couple drops here or there, there’s not much to complain about. He’s definitely been a better asset in your full PPR leagues in fantasy football than others given his style of play and propensity to earn a lot of mid to lower aDot targets. 

He’s on the last year of his deal and, similar to players like Andre Johnson or Terry McLaurin, it would be nice to see him play with a high-level QB at some point. He’s not particularly outspoken to the media but there have been rumblings of him discussing the QB play with upper management inside the locker room. Which is honestly how you want your players to act if you are Mike Tomlin - deal with things internally.

George PickensIf Diontae Johnson is your flanker, George Pickens is your split end. At 6’3”, 200+ pounds he can tether his foot to the line, beat the jam, and make contested catches. He’s still on his rookie deal for this year and next so he’s locked into the lineup for the foreseeable future. For fantasy football purposes the question is how the targets are distributed among Diontae, Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth with new OC Arthur Smith but more on that below.

Allen RobinsonIt was worth a try to see if Allen Robinson still had some of the old magic in him but things haven’t quite panned out. At least not enough to keep him around under his current contract conditions. They can save $10 million with just under $2 mil in dead cap by releasing him which I expect to happen unless he agrees to an aggressively restructured deal.

Calvin AustinCalvin Austin would be the next in line in the slot if they cut Robinson and don’t add anyone. He also returned virtually every punt for this team so he’s safely on the roster for 2024. The question for Austin in fantasy football is two-fold. First, do they add another WR that plays slot. Second, do they even heavily feature a slot WR? 

Historically, Arthur Smith not only uses a ton of two tight end sets but he also employs a fullback. You start mixing in a couple of jumbo tight end snaps here, a couple of fullback snaps there, and now all of a sudden the WR3 is maxing out at ~65-70% of the snaps like we see if SF or MIA. For me, if someone is willing to buy Austin in dynasty for anything reasonable, I’m selling.

Miles BoykinAgain, I like the idea of kicking the tires on high end draft picks that don’t pan out with the team that drafted them. Especially if you are the Steelers with their history of evaluating WRs that they could get at a value in the draft and coaching them into stars. Bonus points if the team they came from is your rival and you can get a little intel on the Ravens. But Boykin never really flashed in Pittsburgh either. If he is back, it will be because he played on four different special teams units, not to be a major contributor on offense.

STEELERS WR FREE AGENCY TAKE: I mentioned it above but the Steelers for the last 20+ years have been one of the best teams at drafting wide receiver. It’s their super power. They have let more good wide receivers WALK because they can’t keep them all than teams like the Patriots have drafted over that span. So maybe they should just keep doing that. Here are the best free agent options at slot if they want to add the best possible slot WR.

POSSIBLE SLOT OPTIONS: Curtis Samuel, Tyler Boyd, Marquise Brown, Kendrick Bourne, Darnell Mooney


Tight End

Pat FreiermuthFreiermuth is in a really interesting position here. Because virtually everyone, myself included, believes that Pat Freiermuth is good. But he hasn’t quite put it together yet for a breakout season. Much like Dallas Goedert, who also has yet to really crack the top seven tight ends in a season, injuries have played a part in that to some degree. 

Quarterback play and play-calling have also caused some issues. Now we might be going into 2024 with Pickett/Rudolph in an Arthur Smith offense. And they have Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and two RBs that can catch the football. The high upside window for Pat Freiermuth may need to wait until 2025.

Darnell WashingtonThere was some hype for Darnell Washington following the combine. He has insane athleticism for his size. But our worst fears for fantasy football came true when he slid in the draft then the Steelers picked him and quickly declared him their “sixth offensive linemen”. For the Steelers though, he’s a great asset and they are happy to have him.

Connor HeywardSpeaking of “happy to have him”, when Pat Freiermuth went down, Connor Heyward slid into that pass catching tight end role and held his own. He’s a on a cheap rookie deal for this year and next so no reason not to hang onto him in that capacity.

Rodney WilliamsIf Heyward is the backup for Freiermuth, Rodney Williams is the understudy for Washington. He also comes with the bonus of playing on FIVE different special teams units. Kickoff, kick return, punt return, punt coverage, and extra points. He was called up from the practice squad so he’s on a cheap deal and he can be kept again as an exclusive rights free agent in 2025 if they want.

STEELERS TE FREE AGENCY TAKE: They will need to decide what to do with Pat Freiermuth for 2025 but they are all set for 2024. As we just laid out, they not only have their pass-catching and blocking tight end, but they have backups for each. And they are all on rookie deals. Nice job, Pittsburgh.


NFL Free Agency Previews

Discover our other breakdowns for the rest of the league ahead of 2024 NFL free agency: