Kenny Pickett trade grades: Steelers, Eagles raise more questions with swap after Russell Wilson signing

The Steelers are the latest team to trade a disappointing quarterback from the 2022 NFL Draft class. Kenny Pickett, who has played in Pittsburgh in college and since being taken No. 22 overall in the first round two years ago, was sent to the Eagles in an intrastate, interconference deal on Friday.

With Russell Wilson coming to the Steelers on the cheap and becoming the immediate new veteran starter, Pickett didn’t want to hang around and be a lame-duck backup QB. Instead, he gets a chance to revive his career in his third season developing behind Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.

Pickett joins Desmond Ridder (Falcons to Cardinals) and Sam Howell (Commanders to Seahawks) in getting traded after being demoted from second-year starter. Here’s breaking down the mutual benefits of the Keystone State swap:

MORE: Steelers’ Kenny Pickett trade stemmed from Russell Wilson falling out

Kenny Pickett trade grades

Eagles receive:

  • QB Kenny Pickett
  • 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 120 overall)

Steelers receive:

  • 2024 third-round pick (No. 98 overall)
  • 2025 seventh-round draft pick

Eagles grade: B

Before trading for Pickett, the Eagles’ No. 2 QB was set to be Tanner McKee, a second-year, sixth-round pick out of Stanford. For a second consecutive offseason, Hurts has lost his veteran backup to free agency, first Gardner Minshew to the Colts in 2023 and Marcus Mariota to the Commanders this year.

Hurts is one of the league’s elite all-around starters and is getting paid like it. Pickett will settle for absorbing the new offense of Kellen Moore behind him. The Eagles didn’t give up too much to take a shot, just sliding down 22 spots this year and giving up only a 200-overall plus pick next year.

Steelers grade: B

The Steelers might have kept Pickett and see if he could develop as a young backup to Wilson himself. But that didn’t seem like something Pickett was willing to do with his confidence broken thinking about what could have been. He needed a change of team and offense.

Pittsburgh already saw Pickett fill-ins Mitchell Trubisky (Bills) and Mason Rudolph (Titans) go elsewhere as free agents, getting little interest to be re-signed for the new scheme of Arthur Smith. With Pickett gone, it’s bound to look for an ideal veteran No. 2. Ryan Tannehill, who played with Smith in Tennessee, seems like the best fit behind Wilson now.

As for Pickett, his value dropped more than wo rounds from his initial draft status. But given he wasn’t in the Steelers plans with Wilson, they should be pleased for getting decent compensation for him.

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