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Options for the Steelers if Ben Roethlisberger retires

The Steelers were planning on bringing in a quarterback before all of this drama arose

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have almost overnight found themselves with massive question marks at quarterback. Some reports suggest there is a group within the Steelers front office that believe it is time for the team to move on from Ben Roethlisberger. If that group can convince the rest of the organization and Roethlisberger is cut/retires, then for the first time since 2003 the Steelers will not have their quarterback position locked up for the foreseeable future. While Roethlisberger and team president Art Rooney II reportedly met on Tuesday, we still don’t have any definitive answers in regards to the situation.

The Steelers will need to exhaust every opportunity to figure out the best option at quarterback for 2021. They may also put one eye on the future and try to find a quarterback that can lead this team for the next decade or more. Below are the avenues the Steelers could explore to find a starting quarterback and some names that accompany them.

Stand pat

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The most obvious choice is if the Steelers just roll into 2021 with Mason Rudolph as their starting quarterback. Rudolph may surprise even the mightiest of his detractors after being dropped into Matt Canada’s offense and getting an entire offseason to prep as the starter.

With Rudolph entering a contract year, it may be a win-win for the Steelers to give Rudolph the reigns to the offense. On one side, Rudolph’s development could lead him into his most successful season to date. On the other side, if Rudolph fails the Steelers could see themselves in a solid position to draft a quarterback. At the end of the day this is the most likely option.

Free agency

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

This would be the cheapest way to add another quarterback without spending major assets. Guys like Cam Newton or Tyrod Taylor might be available for veteran minimum prices and could offer their experiences to the younger guys on the Steelers roster. If the Steelers dip their toes in the free agency pool, I don’t imagine that player will be around for any longer then a one year deal, most likely ending up as a bridge player.


NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The trade market has quickly dried up. The remaining market are guys that are much to rich for the Steelers blood (Deshaun Watson), and perhaps the player they would have targeted in a trade all along. Sam Darnold has floundered as the New York Jets starting quarterback, however, he hasn't had much talent around him during his time with the Gang Green. Factor in some awful coaching and a cancerous locker room and I wouldn't be surprised if he turns his career around wherever he winds up.

Draft - trade up

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This might be the sexiest option, but possibly the most expensive. The Steelers may opt to move up in the 2021 NFL draft for someone like Trey Lance. Lance could end up being a top-10 pick, however there are scenarios where he falls slightly. If Lance gets past the 10th pick, the Steelers could make a deal with either the Giants or Cowboys, if he gets by the 12th spot, the Steelers could make a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, and if he managed to get past 15 the Steelers could make a deal with the Miami Dolphins. It’s not very likely but the Steelers could find a franchise player as early as this draft.

Draft - Stand pat

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Steelers could also land the fifth best quarterback in the draft sitting at 24. Recent reports suggest Mac Jones could go anywhere from the top-10 to the second round, so it is hard to gauge his value. But if the Steelers like the way Jones’ led the Crimson Tide’s super powered offense, he could very well be their choice at 24.

But what do you think? Share your thoughts in the poll and in the comments below.


Where will the Steelers find their 2021 starting quarterback should the situation arise?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Stand pat
    (1111 votes)
  • 6%
    Free agency
    (145 votes)
  • 7%
    (169 votes)
  • 16%
    Draft - Trade up
    (369 votes)
  • 20%
    Draft - Stand pat
    (454 votes)
2248 votes total Vote Now