There certainly seems to be a resurgence in thought from major media members these last few days that the Pittsburgh Steelers might consider selecting a quarterback early in this year’s draft, meaning in the first or second round. Longtime NFL insider John Clayton isn’t one of those people, however, as he said Wednesday during an interview on 93.7 The Fan that he thinks there’s a decent chance that 2021 might not ultimately be the final year in Pittsburgh for Steelers’ veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“No, not at all,” Clayton said when asked if he thinks there’s a chance the Steelers will draft a quarterback early this year. “I mean, because again, you’ve got to look at the philosophy right now; it’s trying to do everything you can to try to win now because you’ve got Ben. I know he’s on a one-year contract, but it’s not out of the question that he could sign another one-year contract, I still think he’s going to be there for two years.
“But during that time, you want to maximize it out. And you don’t want to be like Philadelphia, you don’t want to be like Green Bay where you take a quarterback and have him sit. It’s like, you want a position player and particularly with big contracts coming up and everything else, you want to win now, and you have needs. You have needs at the linebacker position, you have needs on the offensive line and if you take a quarterback, you’re hurting yourself more than helping yourself.”
That’s a lot to chew on there from Clayton but let’s focus first on his thoughts that Roethlisberger might play more than just the 2021 season. Is it possible? Sure it is. That said, Roethlisberger’s voidable years of his recently reworked contract are set to void five days after this upcoming season’s Super Bowl. In short, if the Steelers don’t want a dead money charge of $10.34 million in 2022 with Roethlisberger’s name on it, they would need to renegotiate that year into a non-voided year before the void date arrives. Should Roethlisberger not play well above average in 2021, it’s hard to imagine such a renegotiation happening. Stay tuned there.
As for Clayton thinking the Steelers won’t take a quarterback in the first few rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, he expounded on that.
“With five quarterbacks going in the first round and most of them going pretty high, there’s not one quarterback that you can say is going to be the next Ben Roethlisberger,” Clayton said. “You know, maybe he can come in and be the next Mason Rudolph-plus being a better backup, but no, this is a draft that you’re just not going to find that guy. You have to wait until next year’s draft.”
While the Steelers have seemingly shown some higher-level interest in Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond during the pre-draft process, it’s hard to imagine them selecting him in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. If, however, Mond were to fall into the fourth round, perhaps the Steelers might strongly consider using one of their two scheduled selections in that round on the Texas A&M quarterback. Personally, I hope the Steelers don’t go that route with Mond, or any quarterback for that matter, in the fourth-round or earlier, and Clayton sounds fairly sure that they won’t.
“No, no, no,” Clayton said when asked again if he thinks the Steelers would, should, or could draft a quarterback early this year. “I would have to think it wouldn’t be out of the question in the fifth round or sixth round, or something like that.”