Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for 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 move forward.
Player: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Stock Value: Down
Well, this is about as obvious a choice as it gets. For the first time in his career, all the way in year 16, Ben Roethlisberger suffered the first major injury of his career that will cause him to miss significant time.
According to teammates, there was a known issue with his elbow prior to Sunday’s game, but playing through it obviously exacerbated it or at least made it abundantly clear that he could not play through it, as he had been attempting to do.
The Steelers placed him on the Reserve/Injured List yesterday, which doesn’t officially end his season, but there’s no reason to expect him to be able to return this year. He did say in a statement that he fully intends to return in 2020 and complete his contract, which runs through 2021.
But for now, that places the team in a difficult position. They are obviously not going to throw away the season—they just made a big trade last night to acquire a player, rather than giving players away—but they know their chances of succeeding diminish with Mason Rudolph in the lineup.
Roethlisberger will have finished his 2019 season, playing a game and a half, without throwing a touchdown pass. He completed 35 of 52 pass attempts for 351 yards, completing 56.5 percent of his passes and averaging 5.7 yards per attempt, with one interception and a quarterback rating of 66.0.
This comes after he signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason. It’s been a long time since the Steelers have been dealt an injury this significant—after all, no injury compares to that of one to a franchise quarterback, so there is still something of a surreal feeling surrounding the entire thing.
One can only wonder how much of his on-field play was affected by his elbow injury, and how long he had been aware of it being a problem. Surely the team didn’t think it was overly serious, given that they traded a quarterback a week ago.