When conversing with a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, it won’t take you long before they start mentioning the team’s need to find their next quarterback in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. While it might not be the biggest team need to some, it certainly is up there on the list.
Speculation has been rampant this offseason with the Steelers potentially looking to trade for a quarterback, looking hard at rookie quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl and even the chance the team rolls into 2022 with the quarterbacks who filled out the depth chart behind Roethlisberger in 2021.
It was fitting General Manager (GM) Kevin Colbert spoke with media Monday, and of course the quarterback position was a hot topic throughout the event.
“With Ben’s retirement,” Colbert told media, “it’s a different agenda as we enter into this offseason, and we’ll continue to look at every possible option. We know we’ve got two veteran players here, both of whom have started NFL games.
“We have confidence that Mason Rudolph, if we were to start the season today – and that ultimately would be Coach Tomlin’s decision – Mason would be our starter and we’re excited to see where that can go. We’re excited to see what’s next for Mason. And if we add to that position, we’re going to look at every possible avenue as we really do for every other position.”
It is at this point of the conversation where Steelers fans might be disgusted with Colbert’s response.
“Rudolph?! Really?!” many might be thinking.
If you read Colbert’s quote again, you would notice he said “if we were to start the season today.” Clearly, that isn’t the case. On top of that, until the team places a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) tender on Dwayne Haskins, and he signs it, Rudolph is the only quarterback currently under contract.
Speaking of Haskins, Colbert spoke about him, and the possibility of him getting a shot to be the guy this season.
“Dwayne Haskins came in to get some nice things done throughout the season as a scout team quarterback, he played some in the preseason, and we’re excited to see what Dwayne can provide either from a competition (standpoint) or maybe he evolves into a starter,” said Colbert. “None of us know at this point. I think it’ll be a great training camp for those two and for whichever player we’re able to add to the mix.”
Steelers fans have seen the Rudolph vs. Haskins camp battle before, and it wasn’t really intriguing. What is intriguing to many fans is the thought of the Steelers selecting a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. The mainstream narrative is this isn’t a good quarterback class, but Colbert disagrees.
“As far as this draft class of quarterbacks, there’s good quality available, probably not as many as there have been in recent years. But it is what it is, and we had a great look at a lot of the top quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl.” Colbert remarked. “That was a great experience to see them back to back on a given day. We saw them all, and it was it was very good work, so we’re excited about that whole part of this process.”
The Steelers have been doing their homework on this quarterback class for a long time now, and there are plenty of names to be discussed in this regard. Whether you are mentioning Malik Willis or Sam Howell, all have attributes which could be deemed desirable. If they are worth a first round pick, that is a different discussion altogether.
Could the Steelers be looking at adding a quarterback via trade? That isn’t out of the realm of possibility, according to Colbert.
“Right now we know we have two (candidates) in the building. Dwayne will be a restricted free agent, and I’m sure we’ll decide to tender him at some point. So we have Dwayne and we have Mason. Can we add to that group from the outside? Sure. We’ll always look at trades, we’ll always look at unrestricted groups, at potential cuts down the road and make those comparisons and compare what it’s going to cost us, either from a draft compensation standpoint or from a free agency, salary cap availability decision and what that will do to the rest of your team.”
So, to sum up Colbert’s overall evaluation of the Steelers’ quarterback situation — no one knows. There are so many moving parts to this scenario, trying to put your finger on exactly what the team is going to do is almost impossible. If there is one guarantee to this offseason, it would be the organization is keeping their options open at the position. Other than that, we will just have to sit back and wait for how they decided to address the quarterback position.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the start of the new league year, and the 2022 NFL Draft.