The Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II held his annual end-of-the-season press conference on Thursday and as expected, he had quite a bit to say about what transpired in 2020 and what the future holds for the team in 2021 and beyond. On top of Rooney stating on Thursday that it’s almost certain the starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be back in 2021, he also hinted that yet another quarterback could be added to the roster in some way, shape or form this coning offseason as well.
“I think when you look at our [quarterback] room, we’ll have to add somebody to the room this offseason,” Rooney told members of the media on Thursday. We’ll look at all the opportunities we have to do that.”
I asked Art Rooney II if he's comfortable with the QB succession plan in the event Roethlisberger retires, if they'll add a FA QB: " I think when you look at our room, we’ll have to add somebody to the room this offseason. We’ll look at all the opportunities we have to do that."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 28, 2021
The Steelers recently added a quarterback to their roster as former first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins was signed to a Reserve/Future contract for the minimum just one week ago. With Haskins now on board the Steelers have just three quarterbacks under contract for the 2021 season and they are Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, and Haskins.
If another quarterback is added this offseason, it’s obviously likely to be an inexpensive veteran or a rookie via the draft. After all, the team is not going to have a lot of money to throw at any quarterback this offseason not currently under contract. It’s also highly doubtful that the Steelers will spend a first or second round draft pick on a quarterback this year and especially if Roethlisberger does indeed return.
Could the Steelers send a middle to late-round selection on another quarterback? It’s possible, but if that were to happen, it would virtually guarantee that either Rudolph or Haskins won’t make the 53-man roster in 2021. Speaking of Rudolph, who played well but very sparingly in 2020, he received a vote of confidence from Rooney on Thursday.
“We are comfortable that he is a quarterback who can play in this league and be a starter in this league,” Rooney said about Rudolph.
So, how will the Steelers 2021 quarterback room ultimately play out? For starters, and as previously reported earlier on Thursday, the Steelers and Roethlisberger need to come to some sort of an agreement on a contract modification that will result in the quarterback’s 2021 cap charger dropping quite a bit. Roethlisberger is scheduled to earn just $19 million in 2021 so don’t look for him to take a pay cut. What’s most likely to happen is that Roethlisberger signs some sort of contract extension before March 17 that includes four or less voidable years. He might not get any new money in that extension as well.
Once Roethlisberger’s contract is taken care of, which should be by March 17, we’ll then wait and see if the Steelers address the quarterback position during the early stages of free agency. Once again, if the Steelers do go the free agent quarterback route, you can bet it will be on the cheap. If no veteran free agent quarterback is added prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ll all watch closely to see if the team selects one at any point during it.