The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How good could the Cincinnati Bengals be in 2020 with Joe Burrow at quarterback?
This is obviously a very hypothetical question on multiple levels. For one, while it’s accepted as a foregone conclusion that the Bengals are, in fact, going to draft Joe Burrow, the quarterback out of LSU, we don’t know that will be the case. They have at least tried to put up the front that they are not locked into keeping the number on pick.
Beyond that, we know that even if they do draft him, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’s going to be in the starting lineup right away. We have seen a number of early first-round picks over the past two years alone who didn’t begin the season as a starter, including both of the most recent number one picks.
The Bengals have posted four consecutive losing seasons now with Andy Dalton primarily under center. He is under contract for 2020, at a relatively affordable salary, but they could get rid of him with no dead money as well. First-year head coach Zac Taylor already benched him once in favor of a mid-round rookie before swapping him back in when he proved to be the least objectionable option.
Then there’s the matter of whether or not he’s any good, at least right away. A lot of great quarterbacks don’t get off to great starts. Others start off well but never live up to their initial promise. Still, I think the most likely outcome is that we see Burrow starting for the Bengals week one. What happens from there is anybody’s guess, but I’m hoping he doesn’t win any MVP awards any time soon.