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Ben Roethlisberger has acknowledged is his final year as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, and the search for a new man behind center will begin as soon as the season ends.
But it doesn’t seem as if the Steelers will cast a wide net.
Rather than turn to the draft or a big-name veteran, Pittsburgh is more likely to allow backups Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins compete for the starting job, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Longtime Steelers GM Kevin Colbert is expected to retire this offseason, but not before the April draft. He apparently wants to set up the team well for the next man in charge.
Still, Rudolph supposedly has impressed coach Mike Tomlin and may have the inside track on the job. Haskins will also get an opportunity to make something of his career, it appears.
“Beyond those two, acquiring a player like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, or any other veteran QB who might be available on the trade market should not be expected,” wrote Rory Parks of Pro Football Rumors. “In his 22 years atop the Steelers’ personnel department, Colbert has only traded a first-round pick for a player one time, when he acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins in September 2019.”
There’s also been some talk of the Steelers taking Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett in the draft. He’s a local guy with a Big Ben-like style. But the Steelers will be drafting no earlier than No. 19 overall — and Pickett is expected to be long gone by then.
Yes, the Steelers are interested in Pickett, Rapoport wrote. But Colbert doesn’t exactly have a history of trading up, and it seems unlikely he will eye such a move before departing. Since 2000, Colbert has traded up just three times, Rapoport noted.
It’s the end of an era in Pittsburgh, one that had its fair share of fantastic success. And it appears, for now, that it will be up to Rudolph or Haskins to keep it going.