Steelers need to upgrade Ben Roethlisberger’s backup situation

(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) Ben Roethlisberger
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) Ben Roethlisberger /

With there still being plenty of uncertainty surrounding the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to upgrade their backup situation this year.

While 2019 was a season to forget for Ben Roethlisberger, the veteran quarterback has enjoyed a marvelous career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A career that Roethlisberger is looking to continue in 2020 despite being 38-years-old with two Super Bowl wins under his belt.

Last season, the Pittsburgh signal-caller missed all but two games thanks to an elbow injury. Some were initially skeptical about Roethlisberger ever returning to the field, but he has made it known that he has every intention of continuing to play next season.

It’s great that the longtime Steelers quarterback is looking to return to the huddle in 2020, but it’s hard to anticipate how his latest injury will affect his abilities to do his job well. Obviously, Pittsburgh is hoping Roethlisberger is able to come back and have a solid performance for them next season. But what if he doesn’t?

What if he ends up re-injuring his elbow or his ability to chuck the football down the field is nothing close to what it was before his injury? The Steelers can’t afford to mortgage their season if Roethlisberger’s return doesn’t go according to plan.

Currently, Pittsburgh has a total of five quarterbacks, including Roethlisberger, on their roster. Despite the large number of passers on their depth chart, it’s hard to imagine any of them (Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch, J.T. Barrett) leading the Steelers to success in 2020 if Roethlisberger needs to miss more time or if he’s not close to the quarterback he once was.

Pittsburgh’s No. 2 signal-caller for next season should essentially be someone who has a legitimate history of helping his team win or a prospect with a better upside than the current guys on the team’s roster.

Guys who are currently still free agents like Joe Flacco and Jameis Winston could be options if either of them is willing to take on a backup role. Matt Moore and Blake Bortles are two other free-agent quarterbacks who would be upgrades over who the Steelers currently have behind Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh could also turn to this year’s NFL Draft for a new backup. But since it should be a quarterback with better potential than the guys on their current roster, the Steelers would probably have to use an early-round pick on a young-signal caller in order for him to be a legitimate upgrade behind Roethlisberger.

Some of the quarterback prospects who could be available for the Pittsburgh to draft this year include Jalen Hurts, Jordan Love, and Jacob Eason. One of these guys could even develop into the eventual replacement for Roethlisberger whenever he decides to finally hang it up.

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Whatever the Steelers decide to do, they shouldn’t be satisfied with the current backup options on their roster. There’s a chance Pittsburgh might need to rely on their No. 2 quarterback quite a bit in 2020 and success could be hard to come by if they don’t upgrade their backup situation during the next few months.