Getty Images

Art Rooney II recently admitted that he is growing impatient with the Pittsburgh Steelers' recent lack of playoff success. That's why the team's president should push for his GM and head coach to pursue a trade for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields

But under one condition. 

There have already been rumblings linking the Steelers to Fields, the former first-round pick who may soon be on the trading block. Fields would come at a cost, likely in the form of draft picks. Yet championships aren't won without taking risks, which is why the Steelers should look into this. 

Fields' blend of passing and running prowess seems like a good fit inside new Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Arthur Smith's offense. While he hasn't blossomed into a star, Fields has shown potential amid less than ideal circumstances in Chicago. He recorded the second-most rushing yards by a quarterback (1,143) in a season in 2022. Fields followed that up by setting career highs in completion percentage (61.4) and passing yards (2,562) in 2023 while also throwing a career low in interceptions (nine). 

Justin Fields
PIT • QB • #1
View Profile

Fields is also playing on a rookie contract, so he won't hurt the Steelers much from a salary cap standpoint. And while the Bears haven't won many games since acquiring him, Fields is nonetheless a winner. He proved that with his gritty performance in Ohio State's Sugar Bowl win over Clemson in 2020, when he stayed in the game despite taking a nasty shot to his midsection. 

So, what's the condition, you ask? Fields should compete with Kenny Pickett for the starting job. 

Fields shouldn't be handed the job, just as Pickett shouldn't be jettisoned from Pittsburgh if the Steelers actually acquire Fields. It should be a competition, one that may also include Mason Rudolph if the Steelers re-sign him. 

Moving on from Pickett would eradicate the last two years. Not to mention the fact that Pickett's potential is still grossly untapped, just like Fields' probably is. Pulling the plug on Pickett and not even giving him a chance to win the job this summer would be a mistake. 

Kenny Pickett
PHI • QB • #8
View Profile

Sure, it wouldn't be a great look if Pickett won the job and Fields was a backup after the Steelers traded for him. But most people would forget that in the long run if Pickett led the Steelers to places the franchise hasn't been in years. 

Competition usually brings out the best in people. It would force Pickett to dig deep and play his best ball. It would do the same for Fields, who, like Pickett, is surely hoping that 2024 is the year that he finally puts it all together. 

Inviting a quarterback "controversy" is rare. Really, Bill Walsh may be the only coach to ever do so in 1988 when Steve Young tried to take the starting job from Joe Montana in San Francisco. That ended up working out for all parties involved. The 49ers won the next two Super Bowls with Montana under center. Young eventually led the 49ers to another title. All three men are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

There's a reason true quarterback battles are rare. It can divide a fan base and locker room. It brings unneeded attention to a team. In a football-crazed market like Pittsburgh, anything regarding the Steelers is typically front page news. 

That, however, is a price the Steelers should pay in their quest to return the franchise to prominence. Winning Super Bowls requires fortitude, among many other things. The Steelers can find out if their team has enough of that that this summer by actually having an open quarterback competition. 

It might not be pretty, but in the end, the Steelers would have a better quarterback situation if this scenario played out. That alone might end Pittsburgh's playoff drought, and perhaps even more.