The season might not quite be over for another couple of days, but 30 teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, have already hit offseason mode following their elimination, either prior to or during the playoffs. Pittsburgh got quite far this year, reaching the AFC Championship game for the first time since 2010
But before we get too deep into the offseason, it’s time to take a look at the Steelers’ roster as it appears to be shaping up as we look ahead to 2017.
As with almost every other team, the Steelers have already made some roster tweaks, signing several players to Reserve/Futures contracts, tenders, and other sorts of contract, , so here is a position-by-position look at how the team looks heading into the offseason.
Total Positional Figure: 3
Ben Roethlisberger: It has been more than a dozen years since the Steelers have headed into a offseason with even the slightest bit of uncertainty at the top of the food chain at the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger’s statement in the days after the loss to the Patriots that he is entering a year-by-year approach certainly got the attention of everybody, including the owners.
Roethlisberger did not have his best season this year, but it was still up there. The number of turnover-worthy throws in the past two seasons, however, does not jive with the fact that he has gotten the best protection of his career in that span. His home-road performance disparity is backed up by the biggest discrepancy in the league based on quarterback rating.
Landry Jones: Landry Jones is everybody’s favorite player in Pittsburgh. Or was it the favorite player everybody wants to see leave Pittsburgh? Jones’ rookie contract is due to expire, but that is not a guarantee that he will find a lucrative deal on the open market that would draw him away from the Steelers.
Zach Mettenberger: Zach Mettenberger is the next man up should that happen and Jones leaves in free agency. He was claimed off waivers and is himself entering the final season of his rookie contract. Local beat writers who have watched him in practice have given him less than glowing reviews, but perhaps a year in the system could do him good. But if Jones is not re-signed, this position will absolutely be addressed.
Offseason Strategy: Ignoring Roethlisberger’s threat to retire, the Steelers’ offseason game plan at the quarterback position depends greatly on what happens with Jones in free agency. I would find it hard to imagine that Jones does not at least test the open market, though others seem to be more confident than I am that he will earn himself a contract that will draw him away.
There is the off chance that the Steelers fall in love with a quarterback in the daft and try to draft him in the first round as they fear Roethlisberger’s retirement. This is extremely unlikely. Falling in love with a mid- to late-round quarterback prospect, however, is very possible. I think this is more likely than them signing another outside free agent as a backup.