The Pittsburgh Steelers may or may not need a starting quarterback in 2021.
When we last saw QB Ben Roethlisberger after the playoff loss to the Browns, he sat on a bench on the sidelines looking very dejected.
I don’t want to believe this is the last we’ll see of Big Ben Roethlisberger in a black and gold uniform. I just can’t man. I think it could be time, but damn it’s a hard pill to swallow. I didn’t want him going out like this. pic.twitter.com/zCLa1Zno0N
— Steelers Clark Griswold (@6GoldRangs) February 17, 2021
This led some to wonder if that would be the last we saw of Big Ben.
In the postgame press conference, Ben talked about his plans for 2021.
“It’s going to start between me and God. Lot of praying. And a lot of talking with my family. I still have a year left on my contract. I hope the Steelers want me back if that’s the way we go.”
Because Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer, the Steelers are going to welcome him back if he chooses to return; the decision is his.
Maybe that is not the case; these comments raised eyebrows last week.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert doesn't give a strong endorsement for Ben Roethlisberger as QB in 2021: "As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. … He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 17, 2021
One more item of note is that Coach Mike Tomlin is entering the final year of his contract in 2021.
With this context, let’s consider the three best quarterback options for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers.
1. Ben Roethlisberger
I know this sounds vague.
Let’s assume that Big Ben is coming back for the final year of his contract.
We know 2021 is the first year with a 17 game regular season.
There should also be a preseason and more normal preparation period this summer and fall.
If Ben is healthy, he will be the starter.
Is there a possibility that backup quarterback Mason Rudolph could see some playing time in 2021?
There is definitely a chance of that.
Finally, if the Steelers opt to draft a young quarterback for Ben to mentor, could that young quarterback see some playing time depending on how the season progresses?
Yes, that is also a possibility.
2. Cam Newton
Steelers miss golden opportunity with QB Cam Newton https://t.co/1fdf32xWNV
— Steelers Wire (@TheSteelersWire) June 29, 2020
This would not be the first time there was talk of Cam joining the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Last May, there was much speculation about it.
Though it never turned out to be true, there could be an opportunity for Cam to be wearing black and gold in 2021.
He is 7 years younger than Ben and a free agent.
Newton still is mobile.
Cam had his ups and downs last year with the Patriots as well as about with COVID-19.
Many still believe he has good football in him, but it has to be the right situation.
Working with Coach Tomlin could be just what Cam needs to revive his career.
3. Sam Darnold
If I were the Pittsburgh Steelers, I would move on from Ben Roethlisberger ASAP and try to get Sam Darnold
— Sir Watt🛥 (@SirYacht) February 17, 2021
If the Steelers do not want to wait for a young draft pick to develop, it is possible they could go after Sam Darnold who presumably will be out of a job in 2021.
Darnold has a good skill set, but he did not have a supporting cast of players and coaches that could help him develop.
This may be a situation Mike Tomlin would like if he will be the Steelers head coach beyond 2021.
Darnold is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract that contains a fifth year option so a trade would be the only avenue of acquiring him.
It is unclear what the Jets asking price could be in terms of players, money, and draft picks in exchange for Darnold.