If there’s one thing to take away from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ position on their quarterback position through president Art Rooney II’s comments yesterday, it is that they are not assuming their next long-term starter is already on the roster.
With Ben Roethlisberger retiring, the Steelers will have two in-house options as starting quarterbacks for the 2022 season in Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins, who will be a restricted free agent but should be easily retained with an original-round tender. When Rooney was asked about the position, however, he made it clear that all options are on the table—including when he was specifically asked by Missi Matthews about making a trade.
“Really, you have to evaluate, what’s it gonna cost to make a trade? Those are things we’ll look at if the opportunity arises”, he said, albeit in a fairly generic answer, “and we’ll obviously be evaluating players in the draft, so it’ll be a busy offseason”.
Of course, there is a huge difference between trading for somebody like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson and trading for, say, Gardner Minshew or Case Keenum. Frankly, it’s more likely that Rooney was thinking of the latter group when answering that question than the former. But their general approach to their quarterback search this year is to be open to the possibilities that present themselves, or that you can create.
“Number one, we’re not going to close any doors. There will be different options that we’ve got to evaluate”, Rooney said. “Really, just like any other position, we’re going to evaluate it and find the best person for that position as we can. It’ll take a lot of work. And then when we get that person, we’re going to have to make sure that we develop that person, that quarterback, and put he and the team in the best position to win”.
Will the Steelers sign a veteran in free agency? Will they draft a rookie in the first or second round? Will they end up doing both? It’s certainly possible. It all depends on what is available at the time that it is an option.
A trade is less likely to be an option, but the Steelers have been willing to surprise in the recent past in this regard, and when it comes to the quarterback position, there really is no price too steep to pay to find your franchise guy, because the cost of not having one is even higher.