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This wave of AFC quarterbacks should make Steelers fans pessimistic

The Steelers don’t even know if any of their quarterbacks will be back next year

AFC Championship - Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers dont have a single quarterback under contract beyond the 2021 season. Ben Roethlisberger will be 39 years old when Week 1 yet again rolls around. For once, there is a ton of uncertainty swirling around the Steelers quarterback position. If you factor in the Steelers aren't in a position to take one this year, and won't be bad enough next year to grab a top guy either, my worry-ometer starts to buzz. It gets worse yet when you look across the rest of the AFC. You will find that a number of teams already have their quarterback position set for the next 15 years.

Just take a look at the AFC North alone. There's a real chance that if Roethlisberger looks like a 39 year old quarterback, the Steelers will have the worst starting gunslinger in the division. At the end of the day the NFL has also become a quarterback-driven league. Just take for example the quarterbacks that partook in championship Sunday. Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Josh Allen are considered the best at their position in the league. It makes sense that they were the final four teams, because they had the best quarterback play.

Let’s just take a look at some of the starting quarterbacks across the AFC that are 25 or younger

Baltimore Ravens - Lamar Jackson [24]
Buffalo Bills - Josh Allen [24]
Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow [24]
Cleveland Browns - Baker Mayfield [25]
Denver Broncos - Drew Lock [24]
Houston Texans - Deshaun Watson [25]
Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence* [21]
Kansas City Chiefs - Patrick Mahomes [25]
Los Angeles Chargers - Justin Herbert [22]
Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa [22]
New York Jets - Sam Darnold [23]

11 of 16 teams have starting quarterbacks 25 or younger. Plus, Ryan Tannehill is playing some of the best ball of his career. Additionally, the Patriots and the Colts are front runners to land Matthew Stafford. Long story short, the conference is loaded at quarterback, and it will be for the foreseeable future.

What do the Steelers have to compete with these guys? After this upcoming season, they dont have anything. Dwayne Haskins is an RFA so as of this moment he is the most likely starting quarterback for this team in 2022 by default. For some strange reason, people reading this right now don’t see a problem with this. Haskins is a cast off and at this point nothing more than a camp arm on the same level as Paxton Lynch. His signing announcement was lumped in with a bunch of nobodies that likely won't even make the team. That should tell you what the organization thinks of him.

The Steelers don’t even have a decent pick to draft a quarterback this year unless they find the nerve to trade up for one. If you think Mac Jones or Kyle Trask is the answer, to me it feels like bringing a knife to an Uzi-machine gun fight when Patrick Mahomes comes to town. You're next thought might be ‘well, they can get someone in the 2022 draft,’ I would suggest that thinking is also flawed. As long as T.J. Watt, Devin Bush, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are roaming the Steelers defense they will never be bad enough to sink into the top 10 of the NFL Draft. No team drafting first overall is just going to hand over the top pick either, especially to a team picking in the teens. All of the sudden the Steelers will be faced with drafting the third or fourth ranked quarterback in a weaker class and hoping they will be good enough to topple the Chiefs dynasty.

Free agents also leave much to be desired the next couple years. Right now the Steelers basically have to pray they can pull the next Russell Wilson out of the third round or they’re going to be the whipping boys of the conference until Mahomes and Allen hang them up.

Sure a lot can happen in the next couple months; heck, a lot could happen in the next couple days. But right now it feels Steelers are banking on some sort of divine intervention when it comes to finding Ben’s successor rather than going out and making a move that they know will make them better. If that means telling Ben he’s not welcome back next year, then they have to do it. If it means moving picks to make a trade in the draft for a player, they have to do it. There is no more time to waste when it comes to finding someone to play the most influential position in all of team sports. This isn't a linebacker, or a right wing, or a power forward. This is the starting quarterback of your franchise, and right now the Steelers don’t have a plan obvious to anyone outside their walls.

Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, and even Trevor Lawrence are primed to own this division for a decade. If you don’t believe me, you don’t have to look any further then this same conference which was dominated by four guys the last 20 years.

I believe the situation is rapidly heading toward critical designation. The Steelers need a legitimate succession plan, and the path of this team should be vividly clear at the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft. If the Steelers don’t have something by then, god help us all.

What do you think? Are you worried about Mahomes and Allen dominating the AFC for the foreseeable future? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.