Given that there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot else to talk about, with even Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert pretty much acknowledging that their free agency process is in a pause right now, it appears as though a dominant storyline surrounding the team is whether or not they will show interest in free agent quarterbacks in which they are not interested.
The name that has been connected to the Steelers for weeks now is Jameis Winston, the 2015 first-overall pick, whose contract the Tampa Bay Buccaneers allowed to expire one season after throwing for over 5000 yards and 30 touchdowns, but also 30 interceptions.
A wide variety of different outlets have put up pieces at least making the case that the marriage ‘makes sense’, completely disregarding the fact that the Steelers don’t actually have the cap space to fit another meaningful quarterback contract on the books.
Brooke Pryor of ESPN recently wrote in an Inside column that there is no indication the Steelers have any intention of kicking the tires on any quarterback on the market. “Many outlets have pegged Jameis Winston to Pittsburgh”, she writes, “and though perhaps it’s possible, the people I’ve spoken to just don’t see it”.
This shouldn’t exactly come as a shock, given that Mike Tomlin, Art Rooney II, and Colbert have all at some point this season said that they don’t have any intentions of exploring the veteran quarterback market and that they are comfortable with Mason Rudolph as their backup, and with the mix at the position as a whole, also including Devlin Hodges and Paxton Lynch.
While some reports have suggested that Winston’s market is ‘ice cold’, it’s still hard to imagine that it would reach the freezing temperatures that it would take for the Steelers to be interested. They have already restructured half a dozen contracts, pushing money into future years, just to do the relatively minor deals they’ve already gotten done.
The only variable at quarterback for the Steelers is whether or not Ben Roethlisberger is going to be Ben Roethlisberger. If he’s not, and they can know early on, then that is the only way I can see them bringing in somebody like Winston, but by the time we might actually know something, he will likely have been off the market for some time.
While the team has been emphasizing ball security and eliminating giveaways, adding a quarterback how just threw 30 interceptions in a single season doesn’t actually seem to fit the profile. Nor does the expected price tag that would come with the effort.