The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers will keep all four quarterbacks this year between the 53-man roster and the practice squad.
Explanation: While the Steelers have long been a team that by policy keeps three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, there was some speculation last year that they might keep a fourth on the practice squad because of Devlin Hodges’ success, while they still had Joshua Dobbs. This year, the circumstances of the coronavirus make it much more likely that we see them, and other teams, carry four total arms.
With four extra spots on the practice squad, and no limitations on who is eligible to be on the practice squad, it would be foolish not to keep on the roster whatever quarterback loses the competition for the third spot on the roster, whether it ends up being Hodges or it turns out to be Paxton Lynch, the former first-round draft pick.
Steelers history over Ben Roethlisberger’s tenure has proven far too often that teams often need to get down to their third quarterback at some point in the season. Sometimes even a fourth, as happened, as just one example, in 2010, a year they went to the Super Bowl.
Given the fact that there is the potential at any point for a player to be put in quarantine, it’s imperative that the team have extra arms on-hand, and many teams are considering keeping one quarterback in precautionary quarantine. This could be the practice squad quarterback.
It would make the most sense to keep your backup quarterback in quarantine, not your potential fourth-stringer, so that would be, most likely, Mason Rudoolph. And you know he’s the type of guy who would be responsible off the field.
So if you know that your backup is secured, you really don’t have to worry about whoever the fourth-string player is at the quarterback position. That spot on the practice squad could be better used to insulate another position, because the reality is there are not enough practice reps to maintain four quarterbacks anyway.