Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Stock Value: Up
After an ugly start to the offseason in the media with former teammates casting aspersions in his direction, which fueled the talking heads to jump on his back as well, things are looking up for 37-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as he prepares for his 16th NFL season in 2019, for a multitude of reasons.
Signing a two-year contract extension with a new-money average coming in at $34 million per season certainly isn’t a bad place to start, mind you. He was entering the final year of his contract before the extension was during, prior to which he reportedly was asked to give team president Art Rooney II a verbal commitment of his intention to continue playing during that span.
Aside from the new contract, the continued implosion in the media of those two former teammates, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, have gradually changed the narrative about the veteran quarterback as well. With football activities picking up again, current teammates have also been sticking up for him and having his back, not just the GM calling everybody else kids and inadvertently making things worse.
His recent outing at his Georgia residence with a large contingent of his offensive teammates—including new face Donte Moncrief—also got the positive PR spin, but even that was an example of how twisted the story became.
An article from the league’s own website classified the outing as a unique event and something of a learned habit in response to what unfolded earlier in the offseason, about how to become a better leader. Pro Football Talk, writing a similar article, later blamed the former for his own mistake when it was pointed out to him by literally dozens of people that this is, in fact, an annual activity and far from new.
In the meantime, he has reportedly been working with a full-time trainer to be in the best shape he has been in for years as he comes off a season in which he joined the 5000-yard club and set a new team record with 34 touchdown passes. Things could certainly be worse for the Findlay kid.