We can argue the skills, experience, style of football etc, and we have in other posts. Those are important factors and the Steelers aren't simply going to start a guy that hasn't earned it. But, if DD is anywhere close to Leftwich, he starts. Here's my take on the off-the-field picture.
This is the NFL. It's a business. Presuming there is some sort of a CBA similar to the last:
DD is in final year of a 3 year deal and Steelers need to know 2 things: 1. Do they give him a high, mid or low tender and 2. After he signs that tender (low $2M at most) is DD a viable starter for them or anyone else? If he looks good, a $2M starting QB is worth as much if not more than a $15M superstar QB...you can add 1 or 2 all-pros with the extra $13M. Discussing contract extension with a guy who's earned about $1M in his career and has $2M on the table is pretty easy..."You want to earn that $2M, risk injuring that knee again and then go start your life's work,,,or, do you want to sign a 5 year/$20M deal, almost half guaranteed and bonuses up to about $30M?" $4-$6M for a starter is still very cheap, especially an exciting marketable starter.
Not to mention, if the Steelers still want to move BB, they'll need to know if DD is capable and under contract. I know the majority of posters think I'm foolish for even suggesting it, and the rest think it's just plain blasphemous. Anyhow, foolish to trade the superstar, far more foolish to trade him without giving the young, physically talented replacement a real world tryout.
Playing Leftwich will not give the Steelers the DD answers they need to know. If DD looks good for 4 to 6 games, maybe doesn't even have a bad game/slump/injury...the market for him will be incredible. The starting offer has to equal the Cutler deal and then the bidding starts. Hell, someone might even give up the two firsts before he signs the tender....this is all moot if DD doesn't shine, which he won't if Leftwich plays. In essence, starting Leftwich costs the Steelers a chance at two free first-rounders.
I like Leftwich and he's played his best football in Pittsburgh. It's hard to believe the Steelers think his potential is any higher than marginal/adequate starting QB? What was he worth, a seventh rounder? I'm guessing DD, an injured 5th, potential 1st, 2 years and 1 good game under his belt is worth a number 2 at worst. Of couse market value doesn't matter, winning games does. It seems that Tomlin and the Steelers are headed down the Leftwich path. Is this to keep pressure/media off DD for a while and then let him swoop in? I doubt it. I guess Tomlin and the Steelers feel Leftwich gives them the best chance to win games this season and will let the DD thing just work itself out?
First 3 games are home vs. Atlanta and @ Tennessee and Tampa, 3 teamss who were not very good on defense last year. I sure hope the Steelers see it my way and give DD some reps and a fair shot at starting...sure would be nice having a superstar QB and a young promising starter...the "who to trade posts" would be plentiful.