Thursday marked the end of an era in Pittsburgh, with Ben Roethlisberger officially announcing his retirement. The decision brings an end to an impressive 18-year tenure with the team, which included two Super Bowl championships.
The decision, which did not come as a surprise, leaves a major hole for Pittsburgh under center. The team has a pair of interesting options on the roster right now, with fourth-year quarterback Mason Rudolph and third-year QB Dwayne Haskins potentially battling to replace Roethlisberger.
Rudolph, a 2018 third-round draft pick, has appeared in 17 games for the Steelers, making 10 starts, with eight coming during the ‘19 season. He's 5-4-1 as a starter, and has thrown for 2,366 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He is still currently under contract, set to make $3 million in ‘22 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Haskins, the former No. 15 overall pick out of Ohio State, started in 13 of his 16 appearances for Washington from 2019–20. He struggled in those games, throwing for 2,804 yards, 12 interceptions, and 14 interceptions. Washington cut Haskins in late ‘20. He signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh a few weeks later, and he spent the season behind Roethlisberger and Rudolph on the depth chart. Haskins is a restricted free agent, and the team is expected to retain him this year.
Josh Dobbs, a 2017 fourth round pick, will be a free agent this offseason. He ended the year on injured reserve, and did not appear in a game this season. He has six career games with the Steelers, the last coming in 2020, with 45 career passing yards and an interception.
Pittsburgh fans have been active in the rumor mill, especially with the potential for superstar quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson to become available. The Steelers would have to trade for either player, but they are in pretty solid salary cap situation if either player becomes available. With over $34 million in projected cap space based on the 57 players under contract now, per Over the Cap, the Steelers are in the top-10 for most available cap space for 2022.
There are an array of potential stop-gap options if Pittsburgh doesn't pursue Rodgers or Wilson, with Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor and Jameis Winston serving as some of the most intriguing veteran names to become available in free agency.
The Steelers can also look to restock the quarterback position through the NFL draft with the No. 20 pick in the first round. Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Matt Corral (Ole Miss) and Malik Willis (Liberty) are among the signal callers that could be in play for the Steelers in the middle of the first round.
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- All Steelers: Stephen A. Smith Blasts Steelers QB Mason Rudolph
For more Pittsburgh Steelers coverage, head over to All Steelers.