The Pittsburgh Steelers, and NFL for that matter, have officially hit the offseason. With a month before contracts officially expire, and a new league year begins, the team will need to start game planning their future.
In this series we will look at every position group of the Pittsburgh Steelers and what the team will do with the players that were on the 2021 roster and how they should rebuild the spots heading into the 2022 season!
For the first edition we turn our attention to the quarterback position. It will be the most hotly debated position of the offseason, and could be one where the Steelers could seemingly be a part of any trade, signing or to do anything at all!
The 2021 Roster
Ben Roethlisberger (Retired/10.34 void year cap hit)
Mason Rudolph (1 year $4 Million)
Dwayne Haskins (RFA)
Josh Dobbs (UFA)
For the first time since 2003 the Pittsburgh Steelers won't feature Ben Roethlisberger on its roster. The Steelers will be on the search for their next franchise quarterback, but may have to be patient with the process. As of now, Mason Rudolph is the only quarterback left on the roster, although Haskins’ RFA status is almost guaranteed to be picked up.
The Steelers can push a large portion of Roethlisberger’s voided contract dollars into the future by waiting until June 1st to make his retirement official. But as for now, and considering Haskins tender likely gets picked, up the Steelers will be on the hook for about $16 million at their quarterback position.
Should they look to add a player
The long and short of it is the fact it depends. That sounds non-committal, but it depends if the Steelers believe one of these draft targets have franchise quarterback potential. It depends if a big name trade chip can be had for a reasonable price. It depends if someone surprising gets released. But what the Steelers simply cannot do is spend a ton of draft capital, or cash, on someone that isn't a needle pusher. In today’s NFL you need an elite quarterback to even have a chance at a title, so wasting money and picks just pushes the completion of a rebuild years into the future.
I don't believe the answer to the Steelers’ quarterback situation is available in free agency. I don't think the Steelers can afford a trade, and I don't love the draft prospects. And it is completely okay if the Steelers don't force a quarterback move this year. If they can fix other roster holes first, this position can wait a year or two. These things take time and you can't afford to make the wrong call at quarterback.
How should the group look in 2022
Now it is far from ideal, but I think the Steelers best odds at getting through a rebuild quicker is by giving Mason Rudolph a year at the helm. Regardless if he sinks or swims, the Steelers will be able to improve the rest of their team, and wait for better timing on pulling the trigger for a quarterback move. I think you bring Dwayne Haskins back to compete with Rudolph as well as a super cheap Tyrod Taylor or Jacoby Brissett on a one-year deal to help transition this team into another era.
The 2022 Quarterback depth chart (to me) looks something like this:
The funny part of this depth chart is none of them could be back in 2023. The moral of the story is wait until you have the right quarterback available, and preferably when the rest of the roster is Super Bowl caliber, and the Pittsburgh Steelers really aren't close to that level entering 2022.
But what do you think? What should the Steelers quarterback position look like at the start of the 2022 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.