While there are a number of other issues, the quarterback position has generated the most conversation surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason. That tends to be the case when you have a franchise quarterback who is clearly on the descent and nearing the end of his career—and perhaps has reached his end before he realizes it.
The current debate is whether or not Ben Roethlisberger plays for one more season, and if he does, it will have to come with an adjusted contract that reduces his 2021 salary cap figure—even if it pushes cap money into future years, when the team expects that the cap will bounce back somewhat.
No matter what happens with Roethlisberger this year, however, the obvious reality is that his time is coming up soon, and that means plans for the future have to be made. The team may still hope Mason Rudolph, a 2018 third-round pick, is still a part of that future.
General manager Kevin Colbert had positive things to say about Rudolph when he spoke to reporters recently, saying of the fourth-year veteran that his start in the 2020 season finale was the best game of his career. “It was very encouraging to see Mason play like he did”, he said, “in a tough situation”.
After the season, the Steelers added Dwayne Haskins to the quarterback room, a first-round pick in 2019 by Washington. He called Haskins “a very talented player”, but noted that he fell through the regime change, and he was a “no-risk backup”.
“Does that mean that we can’t continue to add to the position?”, he questioned when discussing the hypotheticals of their future plans at quarterback this offseason. “Absolutely not. Nothing we will do in this free agency period will preclude us from continuing to look at that and add a player at that position”.
What exactly does that mean, however? Steelers President Art Rooney II also previously made a remark about the door remaining open at quarterback. it’s virtually impossible to imagine them acquiring a veteran this offseason, unless they were to release Roethlisberger, which is rather unlikely to happen, to say the least.
While no surprise, it does sound as though they are open to using an early draft pick on the position. Drafting in the latter stages of the first round does them no favors, but as they showed in 2019, they could theoretically trade up. The Kansas City Chiefs traded up to get Patrick Mahomes, and that worked out pretty well.