The Steelers have some questionable quarterbacks outside of Ben Roethlisberger. Here’s why they made a mistake not taking a chance on Cam Newton.
Despite one of the NFL’s best defenses from a year ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most questionable quarterback situations heading into 2020. Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger looks like he is ready to go, but the 38-year-old quarterback is coming off the biggest injury of his career and has played a full season just 4 out of 16 years in the league.
Behind him is a nightmare scenario at quarterback. Though Mike Tomlin reportedly had a first-round grade on Oklahoma State quarterback, Mason Rudolph, entering the 2018 NFL Draft, most experts pegged him as a day-two pick. The Steelers were also forced to deploy Devlin Hodges – an undrafted rookie from Samford – who really struggled down the stretch.
Former NFL MVP, Cam Newton, has been sitting in the free-agent market for months – ripe for the picking. Despite his impressive resume and his terrific skill set, it’s taken him until the end of June to sign with a team. On Sunday, Newton inked a deal with the New England Patriots, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 29, 2020
Rapaport suggests Newton’s deal could be worth up to $7.5 million on a one-year contract – a deal that seems like a bargain for a player who was considered one of the most valuable quarterbacks in the league just a few seasons ago.
Did the Steelers blow an opportunity?
Though Kevin Colbert made it clear from the beginning that the Steelers were “comfortable” with the quarterbacks currently on their roster, did they blow an opportunity by not signing Cam Newton?
Newton is a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback in his nine-year NFL career, and his one first-team All-Pro is one more than Ben Roethlisberger has earned in 16 seasons. Cam has had a very up and down career. At his best, he can play as well as any quarterback in the league. In 2015, he threw for 35 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions and led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.
However, the following year, Newton led his team to just a 6-8 record while throwing for 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. But even at his worst, Newton is a better option than the depth behind Roethlisberger.
While Mason Rudolph could certainly improve on his disappointing performance from 2019, the Steelers should have little reason to trust him in the likely event that he is needed to step in and help win a few games this season.
Though there are cheaper options than Cam Newton out there as far as backup quarterbacks go, the team lives and dies with Ben’s health. The Steelers have now passed on players like Newton, Jameis Winston, and Andy Dalton in free agency because of their confidence in their backups. Let’s hope they know what they’re doing.