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 draft a quarterback in 2021.
Explanation: Whether or not the Steelers draft a quarterback in round one as the clear ‘quarterback of the future’, something that they have not done since 2004, there is still a distinct possibility that the team could add to the position in any round.
Steelers president Art Rooney II pretty much stated earlier this offseason that it is the team’s intention to add to the quarterback position even following the signing of former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins to a Reserve/Future contract.
The restructured contract the team worked out with Ben Roethlisberger expires five days after the Super Bowl, long before the official end of the 2021 league year. They fully anticipate that they will be moving on from him after this season, and that it’s time to look for the next quarterback.
For all we know, the Steelers have every intention of landing their next franchise quarterback in this year’s draft. They could make a bold trade up like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans did a handful of years ago to land Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Or they could just find a quarterback in the second or third rounds, or even later, that they like, and whom they think can develop with a year of experience under his belt, such as Mac Jones or Kyle Trask. Fans don’t have to like it in order for them to do it.
While it’s true that Roethlisberger’s restructures contract strongly suggests a one-and-done scenario, and that any potential change of heart at the end of the deal would not be able to influence what the team might do next month, there’s also a necessary logical thread to the one-and-done approach.
Simply put, the Steelers brought Roethlisberger back because they believe that they can still win a Super Bowl with him in 2021. That means devoting all possible resources toward contributing to that specific goal: a Super Bowl win in 2021. Drafting a quarterback, somebody who would be expected to play 0 snaps this year, would be antithetical to those efforts.