Ben Roethlisberger is at it again. Whether he’s looking for a little attention as is usually the case, or he’s serious about retirement, the Steelers need to give serious thought on who will be their quarterback in 2018. Big Ben was quoted as saying “I gave no guarantees past the 2017 season”. This has to be the number one concern going forward for a team with such a talented roster. All that talent would go to waste without a viable quarterback. Let’s look at some scenarios should Roethlisberger follow through on his warnings and retire after this season.
On the roster:
- Landry Jones – I think it goes without saying at this point that Jones is not the answer as a starting quarterback. He’s fine as a back up, but the thought of him being the full time starter is a frightening one. Pittsburgh will have to look elsewhere to find a suitable starting quarterback.
- Josh Dobbs – He’s a rookie who probably will see little to no playing time in 2017. So figuring out where he stands as a potential starter is anyone’s guess. Dobbs has all the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback, but do they really want an inexperienced player running a Super Bowl caliber team? The Steelers may find themselves in a situation where they have no choice.
Free Agents 2017:
- Colin Kaepernick – As I wrote in a post earlier in the offseason Colin Kaepernick to the Steelers makes sense, I still believe Kaepernick is a better option as a backup then Landry Jones. This is a quarterback who has taken a team to a Super Bowl already, and still isn’t even 30 years old. His combination of a big arm and athletic ability could be an attractive combination. It’s something that could in theory work very well with the talent on this offense. Let’s face it, the 49ers offense has had the least talent in the NFL over the last few years. It remains almost a complete certainty that this will never happen, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.
- Jay Cutler – Here is another intriguing quarterback who is talented, but unemployed right now. Nobody doubts how talented Jay Cutler is. He may have one of the best arms in the game even at his age. It’s his demeanor, and his tendency to turn the ball over, that turns most off from him. It would be fascinating to see what Cutler could do with this kind of offensive line and talented skill players around him. He appears to be semi-retired now having accepted a television job recently. One wonders if a phone call from the right team would change his mind. Again it’s not at all likely, but Cutler is a far better option if Roethlisberger were to get hurt then is Landry Jones.
2018 free agents:
- Jimmy Garoppolo – As with dealing with any future free agents this can get very tricky. New England isn’t about to just let a valuable commodity like Garopolo walk away as a free agent. It’s certain they will use the franchise tag to hold on to him if they are unable to get a long term contract done. Garoppolo could try to hold out and force a trade, in which case the Steelers would have to be first in line ready to make an offer. Jimmy Garoppolo represents the dream scenario for replacing Ben Roehtlisberger as quarterback.
- Kirk Cousins – Sooner or later Cousins will find his way out of Washington. This will again require some sort of trade to pry him away from the Redskins. I’m not totally sold on Cousins as a championship caliber quarterback, but there is clearly potential there.
- Teddy Bridgewater – This will be a very interesting situation come the offseason of 2018. Minnesota invested heavily in Sam Bradford who also stands to be a free agent after this season. The Vikings have to be leaning toward getting Bradford resigned, leaving Bridgewater to be an unrestricted free agent. The horrific injury that he sustained last preseason is still lingering. Nobody knows for sure if he will even play at all this season. This will make Teddy Bridgewater a risky, but intriguing candidate nonetheless.
2018 NFL draft
- All accounts have this upcoming draft being very deep with talented young quarterbacks. The problem for the Steelers is they will be drafting towards the end of the first round barring a disastrous season. By that time, all the quarterbacks will be gone. It will take a king’s ransom to trade up to a spot high enough to get a potential franchise quarterback. It’s a scenario the Steelers will have to be ready for if Ben Roethlisberger does indeed retire.