What will the Pittsburgh Steelers do at the quarterback position? Let’s start off by assuming that Ben Roethlisberger is going to be on the roster, and is going to be healthy. What comes after that? Head coach Mike Tomlin already said that Mason Rudolph is going to be the backup, though saying that at the beginning of the year doesn’t oblige you to follow through in September.
Still, I think it’s fairly comfortable to assume that Rudolph will be no worse off than the number two quarterback for the Steelers in 2020, heading into his third season after being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He did go 5-3 as a starter, and at least threw more touchdowns than interceptions, so there is that.
Then there is Devlin Hodges, who for a few short weeks was the most popular man in Pittsburgh, and then…decidedly not. Tomlin said that the team was going to ride with him through his journey this offseason, but that doesn’t mean there are only going to be three quarterbacks on the roster (actually, there are already four).
Would they bring in a veteran free agent that they had been so accustomed to having, a la Bruce Gradkowski, whom I will be talking about again a little bit later today? I suppose it’s possible, but during his post-season wrap-up last Tuesday, it was about the furthest thing from Tomlin’s mind.
“We are open to any and all options that is going to allow us to put the strongest football team that we can put on the field”, he told reporters just over a week ago about that possibility. “But to stand before you and act like I understand the depths of the veteran quarterback market would be an untruth”.
I did take a quick look, and some names that are slated to be available as of now, provided that they are not re-signed before the start of the season, would include A.J. McCarron, Colt McCoy, the eternal Drew Stanton, Chad Henne, and Case Keenum. There are others, of course.
Would I want any of them as a number three over Hodges? Well, one does have to consider the potential value that a veteran brings. Ideally, you don’t necessarily want two very young players—especially when you don’t even have a coach whose sole responsibility is to coach the position.
Still, while I could see the potential interest in signing a veteran quarterback, I’m leaning toward the Steelers retaining Hodges. They might even sign some veteran with a low-risk contract with little in the way of guarantees that they wouldn’t wring their hands about if they ended up cutting him in August.