Some commentators and beat writers for the Baltimore Ravens have speculated as to whether or not that Baltimore Ravens would become a desired destination for free agents who want to play with Lamar Jackson. At least to date, that hasn’t really shown up among skill position players, though defensive end Calais Campbell said that Baltimore was his preferred trade destination and that he took less to go there.
But it’s not exactly new that the quality of play at quarterback has some influence on interest among players and even coaches. Whenever a prominent head coach loses his job, we typically hear that he wants to go to a team with a strong quarterback situation or who is in position to draft a quarterback.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been established at quarterback for a long time with Ben Roethlisberger, but they don’t often acquire skill position players via free agency. They did get one this offseason with the signing of tight end Eric Ebron, and it would be fair to say that Roethlisberger was a draw for him.
“I have always had this love for Big Ben”, he recently told the team’s website. “One of my old high school coaches was the biggest Steelers fan ever, and biggest Tar Heel fan. I went to North Carolina and he was ecstatic. I would always be at his house and he we would be watching Pittsburgh. I had this love for Big Ben”.
It just so happens that the other Tar Heel on the roster, Ryan Switzer, also clearly has a certain love for Big Ben, and the feeling is mutual. Switzer is about the only player that Roethlisberger has been seen out in public with since last season, though of course nobody is out in public these days.
“Ben has earned so many stripes in this league”, Ebron went on. “You know you are playing with a guy who is a winner. He is a fighter. He has played through so many tough injuries, done things to will his team to win, and won two Super Bowls. It’s going to be fun to get to learn from him”.
While he is excited about the fact that he was recently able to acquire some workout equipment, such as a Jugs machine for catching balls, to tide him over during this quarantine, Ebron also can’t wait until he has the opportunity to get to work with Roethlisberger—whenever that might be.
“All I want to do is get with Ben because I want to hear his lingo”, he said. “Everybody has a different language they speak. I want to understand what language he speaks. I want to understand what he thinks and what plays are his favorite, his go-to”.
Pending the draft, Ebron is the only new piece projected to be a core part of the offensive among skill position players in 2020, though there are some young players, like Diontae Johnson, who haven’t gotten to work with the quarterback much yet, either.