The Pittsburgh Steelers have, by and large, been on an upward swing over the course of the past two and a half seasons after they missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, and failed to win a postseason game in four straight years.
Last season saw them gain that elusive playoff victory, though they came up short with about three minutes left in the Divisional round a week later. Their offense took off, and their defense improved, showing playmaking ability and opportunism.
But there are still a lot of unanswered questions facing the team as we crack into free agency territory. As an exercise, we like to take a stab at some of those questions, presenting arguments for the pros and cons of each side of the coin. This is the pessimist’s take on the following question.
Question: Is pursuing recently-released quarterback Brian Hoyer the best way for the Steelers to tackle their quarterback position?
The Steelers are one of the few teams remaining in the league who are committed to carrying three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster—for just such occasions as they ran into last season, during which they needed three quarterbacks. And it wasn’t the first time in recent years that that became necessary.
In one past instance, the Steelers even had to sign a largely no-name quarterback by the name of Brian Hoyer to serve as an emergency backup back in 2012. The following year, he cracked the starting lineup with the Browns, had a largely successful season there in 2014, and then won—then lost, then won—the starting job for the Texans.
Since then, the Texans have acquired their new quarterback, prompting Hoyer’s release, and in the meantime, the Steelers appear to be without their desire stable of pass throwers—perhaps even without their desired backup option, if Landry Jones is not that. Mike Vick does not appear a viable option, and Bruce Gradkowski may not even be a healthy option.
The team has already expressed interest in Hoyer, but interest often amounts to very level, or nothing. After all, there is a strong possibility that Hoyer is interested in a greater sum of money, and a greater opportunity, than the Steelers can offer.
Already 30 years old, he may well be looking for an opportunity in which there can at least be a competition for the quarterback position, rather than holding the clipboard for Ben Roethlisberger. At the very least, he figures to be looking for a position in which he will be paid more than a clipboard holder would.
The Steelers’ funds are limited as it is, and if we’re being completely transparent, Hoyer is not exactly a star. His intrigue during this offseason is driven largely by the utter dearth of talent currently available to teams on the veteran quarterback market.
Factoring price tag and relative talent level into the equation, we will have to see what Hoyer’s market looks like before determining his viability as an option let alone whether or not he will be the best option. Jones, after all, did have some success running the offense last year after never being given an opportunity in-game before, and could still progress.
A rookie draft pick could be Roethlisberger’s backup after Jones, should he leave in free agency next year, or the year after if retained on a one-year deal after this season. Or, of course, it could be that Gradkowski is healthy and able to resume his position as the backup for another year or two before the issue needs to be worried about again.