Report: Steelers traded Kenny Pickett because he was unhappy with the signing of Russell Wilson

The Steelers drafted quarterback Kenny Pickett two years ago in part because they knew him well from his time at Pitt. Maybe they didn’t know him well enough.

They didn’t know he wouldn’t take getting benched well, or that he’d bristle at the signing of another potential starting quarterback.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that the Steelers traded Pickett to the Eagles “because of his behavior and expressed unhappiness over the arrival” of Russell Wilson.

Per Dulac, Pickett canceled an out-of-town workout with Steelers receivers the day after Wilson agreed to sign with the Steelers.

Dulac also points to Pickett’s allegedly “petulant behavior” late last season, after he returned from ankle surgery but was not restored as the starter. Mason Rudolph kept the job instead.

“It all came to a head in Week 17 in Seattle when he refused to dress as the emergency third quarterback,” Dulac writes.

So Pickett goes from being in competition with Wilson to start to being No. 2, at best, behind Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.

Obviously, if Pickett had played better in 24 starts over two seasons, the Steelers wouldn’t have moved on. They tend to be patient, especially with quarterbacks taken in round one.

As coach Mike Tomlin always says, he wants volunteers not hostages. Pickett apparently didn’t want to be there. Tomlin and the Steelers apparently decided not to force it.

Pickett now embarks on the backup phase of his career, two seasons after it started. Time will tell whether he shows enough in Philly to get a chance to play elsewhere. He’ll need to outgrow whatever attitude problems caused the Steelers not only to find a potentially better option but also to unload him.

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