Only a fan base like the one in Pittsburgh would get lathered up over the team's third string quarterback.
Friday's signing of Clemson standout Tajh Boyd does little more in terms of the team's depth chart than the past signings of Jerrod Johnson or Brandon Kaye did. When a team signs a former conference player of the year, though, people pay attention.
Boyd will join the Steelers as a quarterback, but Training Camp Arm is probably more appropriate. That's barely anything more than Landry Jones has been since being the Steelers' fourth round draft pick in 2013. Suggesting there's a competition between the two for the mythical "quarterback behind Ben and Bruce" distinction is both prevalent and a bit silly.
If Boyd was to supplant the Steelers' most popular fourth round pick, it would mark the team's loss-cutting of Jones, and establishing the team does not have a plan in place to replace Ben Roethlisberger any time soon. In other words, it would be a decision made based squarely on Jones, and would have nothing to do with the team feeling a replacement in the next few years is a priority.
Roethlisberger's pending contract extension can speak to that as well.
Boyd was a sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2014, played a bit in the FXFL, but the league doesn't seem to believe in keeping stats, so it's hard to determine how he did. His team, the Boston Brawlers, were 1-3 in the league's first year, though.
In college, he was athletic and improvisational, skills that fit well with an in-game substitute. An offense can throw out a good chunk of the playbook and just rely on the quarterback to play off-schedule. Teams aren't going to spend much time preparing for the back-up quarterback of an opponent, and that can be advantageous, should the need arise.
While Gradkowski will serve as the back-up for at least one more season (his contract is up after 2015), Boyd has more upside than Jones in the sense that he's a more dynamic player. Perhaps the team brings Gradkowski back in 2016, but as far as development, perhaps it's time to move on from the statue-like Jones and bring in a player who would add an unpredictable element in the unthinkable situation. ybn -m