Skip to content

How will aging franchise quarterbacks react if replacements are drafted?

Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided not to retire and, in turn, not to pay back $18.6 million in unearned bonus money to the team. It won’t be a surprise if the Steelers use a first- or second-round pick on Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement.

With Roethlisberger openly musing about walking away, the Steelers need to be prepared for the inevitable, whether it comes in one year, two years, or three. Indeed, more than a decade ago the Packers picked Aaron Rodgers in round one, and he sat on the bench for a full three seasons before becoming the successor to Brett Favre, after Brett Favre made his annual retirement ruminations a tradition truly unlike any other.

But the Steelers aren’t the only team with a franchise quarterback that may be kicking tires on incoming signal-callers. The Giants are thinking about life after Eli Manning, the Chargers are thinking about life after Philip Rivers, and the Saints are thinking about life after Drew Brees. So what will any of these guys have to say, publicly or privately, if it comes to that?

Brees recently addressed that possibility in balanced, even-handed terms.

“[I]f I’m going to start and that quarterback sits, well that’s not helping our team right now,” Brees said recently, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “So, I want somebody who’s going to help our team right now. That’s the only difference.

“When I leave here, I want this organization to be successful — whenever that is — so I want them to be prepared for that. They need to be thinking about that, but then again, I don’t want to make it seem like this is my farewell tour. That’s not the way I view it.”

Will Roethlisberger, Manning, and Rivers be quite as diplomatic if/when they see a pick that could be used on helping the team win now devoted to the future? Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken the high road (as far as anyone knows) when his team has used relatively early picks on quarterbacks, with two spent on third-rounders and one on a second-rounder since 2011.

The Patriots have been actively adding guys like Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett even though Brady has never talked about retiring. If anything, Brady remains committed to playing as long as he possibly can.

For now, Roethlisberger is the only franchise quarterback at the other end of the spectrum, broaching the subject of retirement not long after the season ended and waiting until April to declare that he’s coming back. While no one took that vow seriously as it relates to a 2017 retirement, the Steelers and everyone else need to take things seriously.

Permalink 36 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill
36 Responses to “How will aging franchise quarterbacks react if replacements are drafted?”
  1. steelerdeathstar says: Apr 8, 2017 9:27 AM

    The Steelers are most likely doing their due diligence on some of the QB’s available in this draft, with an eye toward a possible trade in the future.
    Ben is probably going to play the duration of his contract, through the 2019 season, and the Steelers will likely address other positions in the draft.
    Patrick Mahomes is the QB in this draft class that the Steelers have been most associated with, and he will probably be gone before the Steelers pick in the 1st round anyway.

  2. tjacks7 says: Apr 8, 2017 9:28 AM

    I guess the only real answer is “who cares?”

    QBs aren’t any more special than any other position and at some point teams have to try to upgrade and/or replace them.

  3. aldavisisthenfl says: Apr 8, 2017 9:30 AM

    Of course Drew isn’t thinking about leaving, he’s got plenty of time left to squeeze every nickle out of the cash cow…

  4. detroitfanatic says: Apr 8, 2017 9:31 AM

    Are we really calling Eli a franchise QB? I guess he is the face of the Giants. But he also isn’t very good. Never in his career have I considered him a top 10 QB, and now, maybe not a top 20.

  5. trainwrecksryan says: Apr 8, 2017 9:42 AM

    Chargers should have been thinking about life after Philip Rivers years ago…

  6. lingsun54 says: Apr 8, 2017 9:52 AM

    Nobody’s replacements are being drafted. Or whoever is drafted will not be a future replacement. Not unless Brady is replaced by a late round pick.

  7. akira1971 says: Apr 8, 2017 9:54 AM

    Using Aaron Rodgers is a stupid example. Ted Thompson openly admits Rodgers was NOT on his draft board because he never expected him to last that late into the draft. There was never a plan going into the draft for a QB replacement of Farve.

    Fact 1: Farve was only 4 years into his 10yr/$100m contract. Fact 2: Farve just finished his fourth straight 10+ win seasons. Fact 3: Most draft “experts” had Rodgers going to No.3 Browns who had Trent Dilfer and the latest at 15.

  8. lemmetalkwouldya says: Apr 8, 2017 10:06 AM

    Memo to DREW Brees:

    Your team hasn’t been “successful” for years.

  9. polegojim says: Apr 8, 2017 10:13 AM

    The good ones will do exactly as Drew stated… and as I believe he will do.

    Sadly… that takes a level of unselfishness that some of those… haven’t proven they possess.

  10. maust1013 says: Apr 8, 2017 10:20 AM

    That ’04 class of QB’s may be second only to ’83 but Father Time remains undefeated.

    The irony is with fewer and fewer college QB’s operating under center there’s more of a need now to draft a player and bring him along than ever but the failure rate is so high demand is killing supply at the position. The transition from where the position is now to where it will be soon may or may not be ugly but it will definitely be interesting. In short order a lot of the players that have dominated the game over the course of the past 15 years will be gone. Peyton Manning and Romo are already gone and Cutler might be. Brady, Brees, Palmer, Eli, Rivers and Roethlisberger as a group will all be 36 or older by year’s end and Rodgers, Ryan and Smith aren’t all that far behind.

  11. intrafinesse says: Apr 8, 2017 10:36 AM

    Franchise QBs are making > 20MM so I expect they will keep their mouths shut.

  12. Mike Tomlin says: Apr 8, 2017 10:48 AM

    This would have been a good time to mention that Ben has been at the Steelers HQ to meet and greet every pre-draft QB they have brought in.

    He may be serious about retiring soon, so why not embrace it like Brees? On 4 year deals the rookie will most definitely still be around when Ben is done.

  13. tennesseeoilers says: Apr 8, 2017 10:50 AM

    This has always been such an unfortunate reality. As my all-time favorite QB, Steve McNair, was entering his last season with the Titans, they selected Pac-Man Jones instead of Aaron Rodgers. They did so because they knew how McNair felt. Even a year later, Mac made it clear he didn’t want to mentor a young QB even though the team would be drafting his already favorite mentee Vince Young–so they traded him to the Ravens.

  14. arwiv says: Apr 8, 2017 11:43 AM

    Wow….Eli was NEVER a top 10 qb and now not even a top 20 qb? Go back to watching water polo my friend, because you have no idea about football. Even if you HATE eli, that was just a very ignorant thing to say.

  15. ryder09 says: Apr 8, 2017 11:50 AM

    drew brees 5000 yard seasons are as impressive as russell westbrook averaging a triple double… Got to pad those stats!

  16. saberwolf335 says: Apr 8, 2017 12:03 PM

    Are we really calling Eli a franchise QB? I guess he is the face of the Giants. But he also isn’t very good. Never in his career have I considered him a top 10 QB, and now, maybe not a top 20.

    —————

    Should we call a guy that’s started every single game since November 2004 and won 2 rings a franchise QB? Um, not only does that perfectly define a franchise quarterback, it defines a very successful and reliable one, whether you like him or not is irrelevant

  17. tedmurph says: Apr 8, 2017 12:31 PM

    I think the drafting of Garoppolo , instead of making Brady grumble, led to his late career resurgence. Brady showed subtle signs of decline in 2012/13, which I think led the Pats to draft Garoppolo in the 2nd rnd. The Pats may have thought the end was in sight. Brady, who always has that chip on his shoulder, rededicated himself. Changed his diet and workout regimen, reworked his throwing motion so the deep ball was more in play, and improved his athleticism by sliding around the pocket and extending plays(I realize he’s not FTarkington). That kind of desire and dedication has more to do with Brady being the GOAT than natural talent. As opposed to a guy like Brees, who thinks drafting someone is a bad idea and has had his team cap strapped for yrs. We’ll see how the others react.

  18. abninf says: Apr 8, 2017 1:30 PM

    tjacks7 says:

    QBs aren’t any more special than any other position
    =================================

    Uhh. Yeah. They are.

  19. weepingjebus says: Apr 8, 2017 1:32 PM

    Brady’s approach is to not whine about it, but say draft whoever you want and I will still outwork them for this job. And that has made all the difference.

  20. mmmpierogi says: Apr 8, 2017 1:38 PM

    tjacks7 says:
    Apr 8, 2017 9:28 AM

    QBs aren’t any more special than any other position…

    ****************************************************************************

    Tell that to the Bills, Jets, or the Browns.

  21. streetyson says: Apr 8, 2017 2:01 PM

    Big Ben the only one? No, Carson Palmer pretty much did the same thing.

  22. jimmysee says: Apr 8, 2017 2:31 PM

    Maybe it’s time for NFL teams to start paying “retention bonuses” to so-called franchise QBs to mentor and train their potential successors.

    Time waits for no man.

    But $$$$$ grease the skids.

  23. briang123 says: Apr 8, 2017 2:42 PM

    Caring about their delicate feelings and making decisions based on that guarantees some lean years for your team.

  24. JaminJake says: Apr 8, 2017 2:58 PM

    If you have a Franchise QB, and I mean a true one, they’ll just go out and play.

    Dan Reeves drafted Tommy Maddox to replace and trade Elway away. Elway went out, played, and Tommy Maddox became a star in the XFL.

    It might bother a QB if they use a 1st or 2nd rounder when they feel they have gas in the tank, but QB isn’t the GM.

    Patriots draft QBs because of what they did with Matt Cassell. If I’m going to be sitting behind anyone in the league, it’s TB12 and BB. Love or hate the Patriots, their workplace motto of “do your job” would make any work environment better. The ability to learn from one of the greatest QBs and greatest coach clearly has its benefits.

  25. stoneydog1000 says: Apr 8, 2017 3:11 PM

    Boomer didn’t like it when the Bengals drafted David Klingler and after watching Boomer get killed for a year because of one of the worst offensive lines, Klingler didn’t like it when Boomer left.

  26. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 8, 2017 3:16 PM

    Brady’s approach is to not whine about it, but say draft whoever you want and I will still outwork them for this job. And that has made all the difference.

    Brady makes up fo it by whining to the refs when breathed on.

  27. charger383 says: Apr 8, 2017 3:34 PM

    they will react by becoming broadcasters and taking Phil Simms job

  28. drewbrewer says: Apr 8, 2017 5:56 PM

    Roethlisberger is turning into a slow, fat pig…and Landry sucks…so my Steelers better use a high draft pick in a QB.

  29. senatorblutarsky says: Apr 8, 2017 6:28 PM

    saberwolf335 says:
    Apr 8, 2017 12:03 PM

    Are we really calling Eli a franchise QB? I guess he is the face of the Giants. But he also isn’t very good. Never in his career have I considered him a top 10 QB, and now, maybe not a top 20.
    —————
    Should we call a guy that’s started every single game since November 2004 and won 2 rings a franchise QB? Um, not only does that perfectly define a franchise quarterback, it defines a very successful and reliable one, whether you like him or not is irrelevant
    _________________

    Forrest Gump didn’t win those two rings. The team did in spite of him.

  30. eatme2259 says: Apr 8, 2017 6:30 PM

    akira1971 says:
    Apr 8, 2017 9:54 AM
    Using Aaron Rodgers is a stupid example. Ted Thompson openly admits Rodgers was NOT on his draft board because he never expected him to last that late into the draft. There was never a plan going into the draft for a QB replacement of Farve.

    Fact 1: Farve was only 4 years into his 10yr/$100m contract. Fact 2: Farve just finished his fourth straight 10+ win seasons. Fact 3: Most draft “experts” had Rodgers going to No.3 Browns who had Trent Dilfer and the latest at 15.

    ///////////

    Fact 4: His break-up with Olivia is going to be a problem. Hard to throw the football with tears in your eyes.

  31. cuda1234 says: Apr 8, 2017 6:42 PM

    This year’s qb crop stinks. Teams should be getting into position for next year.

  32. eatme2259 says: Apr 8, 2017 6:57 PM

    senatorblutarsky says:
    Apr 8, 2017 6:28 PM
    saberwolf335 says:
    Apr 8, 2017 12:03 PM

    Are we really calling Eli a franchise QB? I guess he is the face of the Giants. But he also isn’t very good. Never in his career have I considered him a top 10 QB, and now, maybe not a top 20.
    —————
    Should we call a guy that’s started every single game since November 2004 and won 2 rings a franchise QB? Um, not only does that perfectly define a franchise quarterback, it defines a very successful and reliable one, whether you like him or not is irrelevant
    _________________

    Forrest Gump didn’t win those two rings. The team did in spite of him.

    //////////

    Forrest Gump never played in the NFL. He played for Alabama and led them to a national championship

  33. tonebones says: Apr 8, 2017 7:27 PM

    You don’t always have to pick early to get a great QB. Dak Prescott is the latest reminder, but there are others. Teams have to be smart and comb other rosters. Green Bay didn’t have to give up a lot to pry Brett Favre away from Atlanta. The 49ers didn’t have to give away the house to get Steve Young from Tampa Bay. Kurt Warner was a freebie. I don’t think Denver gave away the house to get a Peyton Manning. What did Oakland give up for Jim Plunkett? Drew Brees was cheap too. Some people think you have to have the number one pick to get a great QB, but that’s crazy. Right now someone can get Ryan Nassib for almost nothing. He’s more than capable of winning super bowls, and Conner Cook was a fourth round steal, who’s sitting behind Carr in Oakland. Cook could have been the number pick in the entire draft, if you go by tape, but he got over-analyzed. He’d be the biggest steal in NFL history. No wonder GMs get fired at an alarming rate. Most have no idea what they’re doing.

  34. jag1959 says: Apr 8, 2017 8:28 PM

    tonebones says:
    Apr 8, 2017 7:27 PM
    No wonder GMs get fired at an alarming rate. Most have no idea what they’re doing.
    _____________

    Shame they don’t have you on their staffs to save their jobs.

    Ryan Nassib and Connor Cook are franchise guys in waiting? lmao

  35. dedxx says: Apr 8, 2017 11:10 PM

    Who cares what “insert aging QB name here” thinks. The NFL runs on money not on heart. The NFL is a business, players are seen as commodities, and if you can’t produce at a high level you will be replaced. It is a cold hard world, but like it or not that’s the way it is. Why do you think they say NFL stands for Not For Long? You could go with Bennetts racist take too, words are different, but the message is still the same. All NFL players know eventually they will be replaced with someone younger, stronger, or better.

  36. unbridledsexy says: Apr 9, 2017 10:56 AM

    The Steelers need to draft now. When you’re fat and rapey your career is a year or two shorter then the rest.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!