Justin Fields

NFL reporter predicts the Steelers extend Justin Fields past 2024 season

The Athletic projects the Steelers use the Jordan Love method to keep Fields around

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The Steelers declined Justin Fields' fifth-year option for his rookie contract that was slated to pay him $25.7 million in his fifth season in the NFL.

But one Steelers reporter believes the Steelers will find a way to keep him around past the 2024-25 season. In a story Mark Kaboly wrote for The Athletic, he projected Steelers contract extensions, including Fields'.

"Fields is a curious case. He didn’t have his fifth-year option picked up, and rightfully so (it would have guaranteed him $25.7 million in 2025). His shortcomings over his first three seasons don’t warrant a lucrative extension. Still, if the Steelers use 2024 to determine whether he is the long-term answer at the position, they would lose all of their leverage by allowing him to hit free agency.

"The prudent thing to do is extend him now at a reduced price to ensure that he will be on the roster in 2025 without a huge risk to the salary cap. The Packers did that with Jordan Love, albeit before the fifth-year option deadline. Prediction: Extended," he wrote.

MORE: Justin Fields speaks on Ryan Poles, Steelers trade in first Pittsburgh press conference

As Kaboly wrote, the Packers circumvented paying Love's fifth-year option by settling on a cheaper extension with their quarterback. On May 3 of last year, instead of picking up his option, the Packers and Love shook hands on a one-year deal worth $13.5 million, including an upfront signing bonus worth $8.7 million.

That gave Love an extra "prove it" season, which he took and ran with to the tune of 4,139 yards, 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Now, he's set up to sign a major contract extension that should make him one of the highest-paid signal callers in the league.

The Steelers could use that method with Fields, making sure to keep him around without having to pay the hefty price of his fifth-year option. It makes sense, knowing now that Russell Wilson is the team's starter (for now) and Fields isn't coming with a lot of leverage after being traded from the Bears.

The Bears traded Fields to the Steelers on March 16 in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft that could convert to a fourth-round pick, should Fields play more than 51% of snaps this season.

The deal was earmarked as insurance for the Steelers, should Wilson not work out as the team's starter. Both Fields and Wilson are on one-year deals, although Wilson's will likely stick, while Fields could be seeing an extension.

He's attempting to make that happen in Pittsburgh, declaring his plan to compete with Wilson for the starting role on Tuesday.

"I'm definitely competing. Russ knows that. We’re competing against each other every day. I definitely don’t have the mindset of me just sitting all year," Fields said.

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