About a week ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers got an offer they couldn’t refuse for third-year, third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The Jacksonville Jaguars were willing to give up a fifth-round pick for him, and so they made the very rare move of making an in-season trade to send a player to another team, which I can’t frankly recall them doing before in my memory.
Outside of the value of the compensation, this move was enabled by two other things: the fact that Mason Rudolph had outperformed him; and the fact that they were comfortable with what they had seen from rookie Devlin Hodges since rookie minicamp, when he unseated Brogan Roback.
With the Dobbs trade, the Steelers re-signed Hodges, bringing him onto the practice squad, breaking history by carrying the third quarterback there. But that may not have lasted anyway, and it chould change as early as this week depending upon what we hear today about Ben Roethlisberger’s MRI on his injured elbow.
If Roethlisberger has to miss the next game, then it’s a 100 percent guarantee the Steelers are going to promote Hodges from the practice squad, since they will need a backup quarterback to dress on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Because it’s on the west coast, in fact, we might know a little bit earlier than normal, since they have to travel.
Assuming Hodges gets promoted, he probably stays there for the remainder of the year. There may be an easy way to create that roster spot if Anthony Chickillo’s plantar fasciitis is significant enough. They could put him on the Reserve/Injured List, and he would be eligible to return later in the season, but then that would put the rotation in the hands of Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Jayrone Elliott.
So the man they call ‘Duck’ could be getting the call soon, later this week, although it likely wouldn’t happen until the end of the week unless they have to make a move earlier in the week anyway. It’s highly unlikely that they would attempt to acquire another quarterback; if that were the case, they never would have traded Dobbs. Hodges is the guy who will dress and back up Rudolph should he have to start, make no mistake about that.
For some fans, it appears to be a dream come true. Hodges had an active and vocal contingent of supporters who believed he was mistreated by not making the roster, and not given reps earlier in preseason games, even though the Steelers were in the midst of a competition for the backup quarterback spot of which he was not a part (and frankly should not have been).
This is the sort of ripple effect any one injury or circumstance can have. It can set off a flurry of moves in the middle of a week that serve as a reminder that the 53-man roster is never static, either in Week One or Week 17.