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The Steelers' decision to go all-in on Russell Wilson, which ultimately led to Kenny Pickett asking for and getting traded, brings to mind what Grand Moff Tarkin said to Darth Vader in "Star Wars: A New Hope." 

"I'm taking an awful risk, Vader. This had better work." 

Steelers president Art Rooney II probably said something of that effect to Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan after Pittsburgh decided to sign Wilson while abruptly ending the Pickett era after two years. The Wilson experiment has to work, or else. 

Regardless, the events of the past week in Pittsburgh reinforces the dysfunction that exists within the team. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Steelers traded Pickett because of the way he reacted to the Wilson signing. Pickett probably didn't handle it well, but who can blame him? How would you expect him to react to watching some of his teammates (Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt among them) openly recruit another quarterback while he was still on the roster? 

Pickett deserves credit for how he handled a situation that was nothing short of a nightmare. He was forced to clean up Mitch Trubisky's mess a month into the 2022 season. And despite not getting any first-team reps prior to making his NFL debut, Pickett helped the Steelers finish with a 9-8 record after a 3-7 start. 

Pickett continued to play winning football in 2023 despite it becoming more and more clear that his offensive coordinator was in over his head. He had his best game of the season immediately following Matt Canada's dismissal after Week 11. But he got injured a week later against the Cardinals, and that was the beginning of the end of his time in Pittsburgh. 

I'm not giving Pickett a complete pass. Surely there are things he could have done better during his short time in Pittsburgh. But given the circumstances around him, and how the Steelers have managed that position since Ben Roethlisberger's final season, it's clear Pickett was never truly set up to have success. It's probably better for him that he will go to Philadelphia, even if that means backing up Jalen Hurts

A lack of patience is the reason why Wilson was signed and Pickett was traded. Rooney himself said that there was growing impatience with the Steelers' lack of recent playoff success. Pickett, for reasons beyond his control, was not improving at an acceptable rate. Instead of giving him more time, the Steelers are going in a different direction. 

I'm not saying the Steelers' current mindset is a bad thing. Pittsburgh's desire to win now led to them making several notable moves during the first week of free agency, including the trade of Diontae Johnson and the signing of former Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen and veteran safety DeShon Elliott. Those were good moves that should pay instant dividends. 

The Wilson signing may end up working out, too. Sans his first year in Denver (when, like Pickett was in Pittsburgh, he was saddled with a less-than-ideal coaching situation), Wilson has enjoyed a stellar career. Despite everything he's accomplished so far, Wilson appears to be driven to help Pittsburgh snap its championship drought. 

The way Pittsburgh has handled the position, however, and the inner dysfunction that appears to exist within the facility is the issue. Steelers running back Najee Harris alluded to that dysfunction following Pittsburgh's loss to Cleveland last season. 

"There's just a lot of stuff that just goes around that you guys don't see," Harris said at the time. "I'm just at a point where I'm just tired of this shit."

Fitzpatrick said similar things following Pittsburgh's late-season loss to New England. He said that too many teammates think that, just because they wear the black and gold, that will be enough win. He was probably alluding to Johnson and fellow wideout George Pickens, who on several occasions put forth little to no effort during games. The Steelers' decision to trade Johnson was reportedly motivated by some of his negative actions, so it's clear that Pittsburgh is actively trying to improve from a culture standpoint. 

Was Pickett part of the culture problem? It's hard to know without being inside the facility. But it's pretty clear, based on his own teammates openly recruiting another quarterback, that Pickett didn't have the full support of the locker room. 

Pickett will now head to Philadelphia, while Wilson will inherit a much better situation in Pittsburgh than the one Pickett entered two years ago. Wilson has an experienced offensive coordinator (Arthur Smith), a solid offensive line, two capable 1,000-yard running backs and a receiving corps that will undoubtedly be added to during free agency and in the draft. 

It doesn't look terribly great now, but in the end, what transpired this week regarding the Steelers' quarterback situation may working out in the long run. Quite simply, it has to work out. If it doesn't, it will only further magnify the mistakes the Steelers have made in the post Roethlisberger era.