The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new quarterback in town. He was even a first-round draft pick. In a move that had the football world buzzing, the reigning AFC North champions agreed to a deal with former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was cut loose during the 2020 season after less than two years with the club.
It was only a Reserve/Future contract, which is a one-year veteran-minimum qualifying contract, so the risk is very minimal, but because of his pedigree, many will be intrigued by the move and hope to see what comes of it—much like people were when they added Paxton Lynch in 2019.
It’s fair to say that Haskins’ NFL career hasn’t gone the way he would have liked to date. Not just in terms of his struggles on the field, but also the issues that have followed him off of it, from criticism about his work ethic and maturity, to the incident last season in which he was found breaching Covid-19 protocols attending a strip club.
What will inevitably follow is the redemption narrative, and a ‘change of scenery’. That is what Haskins is looking for, at least, according to his social media. In his first Twitter post since last year, he shared a picture of himself signing a contract with the Steelers—whom he chose over the Panthers—and two mockups of himself in a Steelers uniform, donning the number three.
“3 in the Bible stands for restoration and eternal life”, he wrote. “Let’s work”.
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) January 21, 2021
If anybody could use a career restoration, it would be him, and at least theoretically, he has landed in a great spot. The Steelers are right in the midst of a transition at the quarterback position, likely, with Ben Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career at the age of 38 and with diminishing play on the field.
Up to this point, they have not been successful in filling the pipeline with talent, their biggest stab at it coming in 2018 when they used a third-round pick for Mason Rudolph, who is 5-4 in seven starts, with one of those wins coming in a game in which he was benched with a deficit.
If Haskins has it in him to turn his career around and live up to his pedigree, then he will have an opportunity to move up the ladder in Pittsburgh and take over a starting position for one of the most stable organizations in professional sports.
But it’s all on his shoulders now. Can he play well enough to merit the attention? Can he improve his deficiencies? Has he matured in his personal life? Right now there are far more questions than answers, but if he’s looking for a restoration, as he implied, it’s going to take a lot of work.