With the arrival of quarterback Bruce Gradkowski via free agency and quarterback Landry Jones via the fourth round of the 2013 draft, it’s highly unlikely that Charlie Batch’s 11-year run with the team will continue.
So Batch can speak his mind. That’s precisely what he did regarding the team’s decision to draft Jones.
“[U]ltimately, I think this isn’t about replacing me,” Batch told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Big picture, maybe they’re thinking, ‘Can we develop Landry Jones to be the starter? Maybe two years from now, he could be our guy for the next 10 years.’ We don’t know. But with the contracts for quarterbacks these days, he’d certainly be a heck of a lot cheaper than Ben at age 34 or 35 or 36.”
Batch has a point, to an extent.. As quarterback cap numbers grow while the salary cap doesn’t, it’s getting harder to build a team around the guy who throws the ball.
Still, G.M. Kevin Colbert didn’t sound like a guy who is thinking about moving on from Roethlisberger during last week’s visit to PFT Live.
“You look at the great quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, they’re in their mid-30s, and Ben’s just 31,” Colbert said. “We think there’s a lot of football and we hope there’s a lot of football left in him, and hopefully it’s even better than he’s been for us. It’s our job to maximize these years that he has left, and we really think that he has a nice stretch in him.”
Of course, no one would expect the Steelers to declare an intention to go cheaper and younger at quarterback without knowing that they have someone who would be as good if not better than Ben. But if Jones shows the organization enough in the next two or three years, maybe Batch’s suspicions will be proven right.