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Mike Tomlin weighs in on the Steelers’ current QB room, and plans for the future

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without Ben Roethlisberger for the first time since 2004, and they aren’t closing the door on any way of finding the next QB.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Playoffs-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering the unknown. What is the unknown? Try having to find a quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger for the first time since Roethlisberger was drafted in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Of course, there was the 2019 season where Roethlisberger hurt his elbow and was done for the season, but this isn’t a one year deal the Steelers find themselves in heading towards the offseason. No, now the team has to try and find the next answer at the most important position in all of sports.

Tuesday Mike Tomlin met with media for the last time this season, and he was peppered with questions on an array of topics, but the topic which was brought up the most was the team’s plans at quarterback moving forward. Obviously, Tomlin wasn’t able to give a clear cut answer many wanted, but just talked about what the team plans to do moving forward.

Tomlin spoke about adding a player, or more, to the quarterback room, and the dynamic it will have on the team/position.

“You know, right now all options are on the table.” Tomlin said when referencing a free agent quarterback or drafting a rookie. “But those decisions are interrelated based on our global needs. And the totality of those global needs.

“I enjoy working with Kevin [Colbert] this time of year because we just speak plain English. We have to improve our football team. There’s two major ways that you can do it. You do it through free agency and you do it through the draft. We have to look at what’s available to us in the draft, positionally. We have to look at what’s available to us, potentially in free agency, positionally. And then we kind of bring those two discussions together and it kind of gives us a path in which to go about addressing our needs.

“And so, having worked with him for as long as I have, I’m sure that we will remain in that mode. We’re very comfortable in terms of identifying the things that we need to do and how we need to go about having those discussions and framing those discussions. And I’m excited about doing it.”

But wait a second. It was just a few months ago there was a report Tomlin said he didn’t want a rookie signal caller, but rather wanted an experienced quarterback. Was the report not true?

“I have not expressed that.” Tomlin answered. “As I mentioned, I think it’s prudent and appropriate to be open to all of the above. There’s two core ways you improve your team as I acknowledged and that’s the quarterback position or any position or the totality of all the positions. You have to weigh what’s available to you in the free agent market and the cost of acquiring it, versus what’s available to you in the draft and what’s the best mix for us.

“What’s the best mix positionally that allows us potentially to put the strongest group on the field, not only in 2022, but just the foreseeable future. Those are the variables at play in terms of those discussions and decision making. And so, I’m open to all of the above, I guess to safely answer your question.”

Mike Tomlin was hired by the Steelers in 2007, and has been the head man ever since. For the entirety of his tenure with the organization Tomlin has had Roethlisberger as his quarterback. Trying to find the next franchise quarterback certainly can be daunting, but also a challenge. As Tomlin said, he is excited about the challenge.

“I’m excited about that challenge. Those of us that are competitors are. It’s a tough challenge, man, it kind of makes you uneasy. But I’ve learned to run to those challenges. I’ve learned to appreciate those challenges. The uncertainty surrounding them, is inspiring to me in terms of producing work.”

At this stage of the offseason everyone is talking about mock drafts, free agent reports and other rumors circulating the internet. However, if you read Tomlin’s answers closely you see the organization hasn’t closed the door on a variety of ways to find the next quarterback.

It could be a free agent acquisition.

It could be a rookie in the 2022 NFL Draft.

It could even be via trade.

Either way, the Steelers aren’t painting themselves into a corner of having to find a quarterback one way or another. This is the best approach in this regard, and one every fan of the black and gold will be watching intently this offseason as they wonder who will be quarterbacking this team in 2022, and possibly beyond.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the offseason and all that entails.