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The Steelers could also be quickly headed to a cut up with Ben Roethlisberger after having him as their beginning quarterback for 17 seasons. Huge Ben is the final first-round QB standing from the famed 2004 NFL Draft, after Philip Rivers already determined to hitch Eli Manning in retirement.
However Roethlisberger is additionally set to show 39 in early March and is coming off a shaky season of bodily decline, on the heels of a misplaced 2019 marketing campaign due to a proper (throwing) elbow damage. Pittsburgh is also about $30 million over the wage cap for 2021, with Roethlisberger carrying a hefty cap variety of $41.25 million.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert was non-committal about Roethlisberger returning when he talked to reporters Wednesday. The group can’t afford Roethlisberger coming again until he restructures his contract. In any other case, he is extra more likely to retire than becoming a member of one other group.
Regardless, the Steelers, for the primary time in a very long time, must discover short- and long-term beginning QB choices. Between in home, the buying and selling block, free company and the draft, right here can be their most viable options for changing Roethlisberger if wanted:
MORE: SN’s newest mock draft | Huge board of high 50 prospects
Steelers’ in-house choices for QB: Mason Rudolph vs. Dwayne Haskins
Though Rudolph, 25, has performed fairly a bit filling in for Roethlisberger since he was drafted within the third spherical in 2018, the Steelers have given no indication that has been groomed to be Roethlisberger’s successor. This 12 months marks the ultimate 12 months on Rudolph’s rookie contract.
Haskins signed a cut price one-year deal after the 2019 first-rounder was launched by Washington earlier than the top of final season. Earlier than that, he was an intriguing lower-level commerce goal for Pittsburgh. Off the sphere and on the follow area, Haskins did not dwell as much as expectations as a pacesetter or a passer. He went from not being a most popular possibility of coach Jay Gruden to not being tolerated by Ron Rivera.
That stated, Haskins turns solely 24 in Could has some nice bodily instruments for the place that he can put all collectively by absorbing teaching and getting re-dedicated together with his second NFL likelihood that got here a lot sooner than anticipated.
A possible beginning battle between regular backup and unstable newcomer might not include an answer for a couple of season. But when the Steelers are too cap-strapped and need to use their greatest draft sources addressing different positions, it is likely to be with what they’re caught. Ought to the Steelers not take a QB early, they’ll additionally draft a developmental sort to place into the open competitors.
On this state of affairs, Rudolph does have an inside observe after working intently with new offensive coordinator Matt Canada was the latter was the group’s quarterbacks coach final season.
Steelers’ greatest commerce possibility for QB: Sam Darnold
Darnold, like Haskins is simply 24. The Jets are more likely to transfer the No. three general decide from 2018 whereas they prep to both make a blockbuster commerce for the Texans’ Deshaun Watson involving giving up first-round picks or take BYU’s Zach Wilson at No. 2 general in 2021.
Between his well being points and New York’s unsettled offense the previous three years — stamped by the shaky tenure of Adam Gase — Darnold hasn’t had an actual likelihood to point out what he can do with an inexpensive supporting solid. The Steelers can provide a steadier system with a very good line and gifted younger receivers — which could embrace a USC reunion with JuJu Smith-Schuster if the wideout is re-signed.
With the Steelers unable to get Watson and Carson Wentz already traded, that is their greatest remaining avenue to amass a younger veteran with good beginning expertise.
MORE: Rating the NFL’s high 50 free brokers for 2021
Steelers’ greatest free company possibility at QB: Jameis Winston
Winston did not get signed as a starer by any QB-needy groups as a free agent from the Buccaneers final 12 months. He settled for a cut price backup take care of the Saints. He ended up staying a backup, nonetheless, even when Drew Brees missed 4 video games, with Taysom Hill getting the full-time fill-in nod over him.
When Winston went No. 1 general to Tampa Bay within the 2015 draft, there have been comparisons to Roethlisberger together with his 6-4, 231-pound body, large arm to push the ball downfield and athletic wiggle when wanted. However inconsistency and interceptions have curbed Winston’s upside. The Steelers might have had some stage of curiosity in Winston within the 2020 offseason, however he wasn’t a needed addition then with Roethlisberger on observe to return again nicely from his damage.
If the Steelers aren’t thrilled of the considered Rudolph vs. Haskins or do not get into the Darnold combine, they might do a complete lot worse on taking a flyer on Winston. The problem is the change in offense from Randy Fichtner to Canada, the place Winston could also be much less of a pure match.
Steelers’ greatest draft choices for QB: Mac Jones, Kyle Trask
Rudolph has been the highest-drafted Steelers QB since Roethlisberger went No. 11 general in ’04. Sitting on the No. 24 and No. 55 general draft picks in 2021, it is likely to be prime time to lastly draft a first- or second-round quarterback once more, no matter whether or not Roethlisberger continues to be in Pittsburgh.
Alabama’s Mac Jones falls into being a very good prospect worth late in Spherical 1 together with his robust all-around passing talent set and championship pedigree. Florida’s Kyle Trask additionally has proven the arm and accuracy to prosper with the suitable NFL teaching and is lining up as a mid-Spherical 2 decide.
If there’s anybody the Steelers may commerce as much as get within the draft, it might be just a few spots for North Dakota State’s Troy Lance, as BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields shall be out of attain. Ought to it come all the way down to in-house vs. draft, the Steelers ought to see that Jones and Trask each carry a lot larger upside than Rudolph.
Many thought the Steelers would have lined up a Roethlisberger contingency plan earlier. However they is likely to be left scrambling for a solution when having restricted sources. Contemplating the Ravens (Lamar Jackson), Browns (Baker Mayfield) and Bengals (Joe Burrow) arrange at QB for some time with younger latest first-rounders and the Steelers going through a dangerous cap state of affairs, a rookie alternative for Roethlisberger seems just like the wisest transfer.