2021 South Side Questions: Will Next Year’s Starting QB Be A Major Outside Veteran?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Will the Steelers’ starting quarterback be a major veteran name (that is not Ben Roethlisberger)?

This topic has been bubbling under the surface for…well, probably over a year, really, but every day we come closer and closer to the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era and to the thereafter, whatever that is. More recently, we’ve heard rumors that Mike Tomlin doesn’t want to start over with a rookie, with the implication being that the team would bring in a veteran in some way or another.

That in itself is realistic, sure enough. But are we talking about an Andy Dalton or a Tyrod Taylor, or are we talking Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson? Neither of those Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks appear to be happy with their current situations, and may well be looking for a new home next year.

But how could the Steelers land them? Is that even realistic from a pragmatic perspective? Do they have the resources to acquire that sort of player? And would they actually do that?

This is, of course, uncharted territory. We’ve never seen Tomlin without a franchise quarterback in his back pocket before, so we can’t say what his approach would be at the position once Roethlisberger is no longer in the picture. Would he go to Art Rooney II and say ‘do what you have to to get me Aaron Rodgers’?

At the very least, it should make the early portions of the offseason exciting from an intrigue perspective, which, for better or worse, hasn’t actually been much of a problem for the Steelers in recent years, as they been drawing unintended headlines during that time of year for a while.

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