The Steelers went 20 years between franchise quarterbacks, after the retirement of Terry Bradshaw. With Ben Roethlisberger ending his 18-year run in Pittsburgh, where will they go from here?
Some believe Mason Rudolph will be the starter. I don’t believe those who believe this have paid sufficient attention to Rudolph’s past performances.
The Steelers can do better. They must do better. As the now-annual quarterback carousel prepares to spin, the Steelers will have options. They will be a preferred destination for multiple quarterbacks seeking a path to the postseason and, eventually, the Super Bowl.
So who will it be? Aaron Rodgers makes sense, but it doesn’t really make sense from him to leave the NFC North, where he can continue to dominate, indefinitely. Russell Wilson will once again look around. Why would he not be interested in joining forces with Mike Tomlin?
Other possibilities include Deshaun Watson (the Steelers weathered the Big Ben off-field situation in 2009-10), Jimmy Garoppolo (he’s still better than Rudolph), maybe Kirk Cousins. And if the bar is “better than Mason Rudolph,” the following quarterbacks could be added to the mix: Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Lock, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derek Carr (if the Raiders move on), and even Carson Wentz (if the Colts move on). Hell, Nick Foles would be a better option than Rudolph at this point.
It’s too early to piece together a plan. First, the coaching carousel has to resolve itself. Once that happens, the Steelers can start seriously considering their options.
Given the strengths of the organization and the quality of the head coach, the best play may be to sit back and wait for the best options to clamor for the chance to don black and gold.