The Pittsburgh Steelers are just another team dealing with the effect of Tony Romo’s retirement.
After 15 years in the NFL, one of the Dallas Cowboy’s greatest players, Tony Romo, has decided to end his football career and pursue a new life in broadcasting. As a future Hall of Famer, Romo has made his impact on the league and is still affecting it after he’s gone.
The four-time Pro Bowler was one of the hottest commodities this offseason as a tradable asset for Dallas. Teams like the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and New York Jets all wanted the elite quarterback as their play caller this season. But now, with most recognizable quarterbacks in free agency gone, these teams are stuck with their current passer or forced to look draft for the answer.
Romo’s 34,183 yards and 248 touchdowns are no match for an incoming rookie. With multiple teams interested in the QB, someone would have taken a risk and traded for him. Now, not only does Romo leave these teams stranded, but takes away options for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the Steelers, they face a similar dilemma but without a new starting quarterback. After Ben Roethlisberger had told the media he was uncertain of the future, Pittsburgh went into panic mode. Now, they need to find their next play caller, and they need to do it before it’s too late.
A position many believed the Steelers would use their second round draft pick on, now may be a risk they need to move up to make. The Texans, who were considered the favorite for Romo, now need to use their 25th pick on a quarterback. With three projected first round QBs, this could mean Houston starts digging into second round options with their first pick.
Chances are, if they don’t land DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky, or Deshawn Watson, they’ll take a chance on Patrick Mahomes. One of the Steelers pre-draft visits, Mahomes was high on Pittsburgh radar as their future quarterback option.
It was unlikely he’d fall all the way to the end of the second round, but him moving up will have a spiral effect on the rest of the play callers taken. The Steelers sitting at the third-last pick in the second round could mean their options are cut short by waiting around.
Later in the second round, players like Davis Webb out of California, Pitt’s Nathan Peterman and Miami’s Brad Kayaa are all reliable options. Although, none are considered ready NFL quarterbacks and will need more than a season before they’re ready to be handed a team.
Roethlisberger has three years remaining on his contract, which some believe he’ll finish out. However, if he’s uncertain now, there’s no knowing when he’ll decide to quit the game. Pittsburgh needs to be prepared, but the quarterbacks on the roster are not valuable options, and the late second rounders will need time before they’re ready.
It’s a risk game now. Pittsburgh has no idea if Roethlisberger is coming back or for how long. Preparing for his departure starts in this draft, but having to guess how long a player has to develop makes it’s twice as difficult.
If Pittsburgh wanted to take a chance on Mahomes in the first round, chances are he would have been there. But, now, they’re likely stuck waiting it out for the next best option in the second round. Not that that changes much, but it leaves them with less of a security blanket.
No one would have thought Tony Romo would make an impact on the Steelers post-retirement. Most times, he wasn’t even affecting Pittsburgh while he was playing. It happened, though, and the Steelers will have to wait it out to see how much it actually changes their plans on draft night.