Now that Ben Roethlisberger has retired after 18 seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in the market for a quarterback.
It’s been eons since Pittsburgh has found itself in this situation. The last time the team went into a season with a questionable quarterback situation was all the way back in 2003 when Tommy Maddox (of XFL lore) was under center.
As one of the most-stable franchises in the NFL, it’s going to be interesting to see what the Steelers do under center this offseason. Things are also complicated with longtime general manager Kevin Colbert set to retire following the 2022 NFL Draft.
Below, we look at six Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback options for the 2022 offseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers select Matt Corral in the 2022 NFL Draft
Right now, we project this Mississippi star will be one of the top-12 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. If that’s the case, Pittsburgh will have to trade up in order to land him. At 6-foot-1 and having thrived in Lane Kiffin’s pro-style offense with the Rebels, Corral tallied 20 touchdowns against five interceptions while completing 68% of his passes in 13 games this past season.
The idea here for Pittsburgh would be for Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins to act as the stopgap quarterback until Corral is ready. It’s not an ideal scenario. But that’s what happens when you kick the quarterback situation down the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers trade for Jimmy Garoppolo
The other idea here would be for Pittsburgh to both select a quarterback and find an outside option to be a stopgap option. That would include going with someone like Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder or Sam Howell from North Carolina while adding a proven starter.
On the cheap, there might not be a better option than the 30-year-old Garoppolo. He could probably be had for a mid-round pick given that the San Francisco 49ers are preparing for Trey Lance to start next season. The 6-foot-2 signal caller is also your prototypical option that Pittsburgh has valued under center in the past. Garoppolo has a history of success, posting a 37-15 record as a starter in the NFL. It likely wouldn’t cost more than a third-round pick to pry him away from San Francisco. A lot of this depends on how the 49ers’ playoff run ends. There’s a chance Garoppolo could demand more in a trade or even remain with the 49ers if they win the Super Bowl.
Related: Ideal Deshaun Watson trade scenarios
Pittsburgh Steelers trade for Deshaun Watson
We’ve seen Pittsburgh pull off blockbuster trades for proven talent in the past. Star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick early during the 2019 season was the most-recent example of this. Whether Colbert and Co. double down at quarterback remains to be seen.
A lot of this will depend on the civil cases Watson faces stemming from the north of 20 sexual misconduct allegations that have been levied in his direction. Pittsburgh isn’t immune from this given the situation surrounding Ben Roethlisberger earlier in his career. But if the civil cases are settled in Watson’s favor, this could be a tremendous fit. At only 26, Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Here’s a dude who has accounted for 121 total touchdowns against 36 interceptions in 53 career starts.
Pittsburgh Steelers roll with Mason Rudolph
It was earlier this season that reports broke regarding Pittsburgh’s belief in Rudolph as a potential heir-apparent to Ben Roethlisberger. Rudolph, 26, touched on that this past summer.
“That’s my goal, to be a starting quarterback in this league and for our team, and I’m working toward that goal every single day,” the former Oklahoma State star said in June. “I can only control myself and the way I prepare and the way I approach and play in OTAs and camp, and that’s on the forefront of my mind.”
This is questionable to say the least. In 10 career starts, Rudolph has led Pittsburgh to a 5-4-1 record while throwing 16 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. His only start this past season resulted in a tie with the winless Detroit Lions. Even then, Pittsburgh’s brass seems to have confidence in him. Despite this, the Steelers seem committed to him.
Related: Ideal Russell Wilson trade scenarios
Pittsburgh Steelers replace Ben Roethlisberger with Russell Wilson
With his Seahawks having finished last season at 7-10, we could be witnessing the end of the Russell Wilson era in the Pacific Northwest. Remember, there were rumors of discontent on the part of the Super Bowl quarterback last off-season. There’s further rumors of issues that will spread out into the off-season.
Should Wilson opt to request a trade, Pittsburgh would make a ton of sense. He’s as proven as any quarterback in the NFL and has a winning pedigree. It would be a natural transition from Big Ben to another future Hall of Fame signal caller.
Pittsburgh Steelers pry Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers
After yet another premature playoff exit at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, there’s now a darn good chance that Aaron Rodgers has played his final game as a member of the Packers. The reigning NFL MVP refused to commit to Green Bay following said loss and will make a decision here within the next few weeks.
The expectation is that if Rodgers does opt to request a trade, he’ll want to head to a team with a built-in culture of winning. There’s no better example of that than Pittsburgh when it comes to quarterback-needy squads. Rodgers to the Steelers legitimately makes perfect sense.
The only thing holding Pittsburgh back here is the bounty it would require to pry Rodgers away from the Packers. We’re talking multiple first-round picks and a couple young starters. With a new GM set to take over soon, is this a price the Steelers would be willing to pay? We’re not too sure.