The Pittsburgh Steelers must sign Dwayne Haskins right now

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers have their current franchise quarterback, but here’s why they must go out and sign Dwayne Haskins.

The Steelers are going to have to make a big decision at the end of the season as to what the future of the QB room is going to look like. I had made a point earlier in the season that Dwayne Haskins would be a good trade option for the end of the season to provide an immediate upgrade over Mason Rudolph as a backup while having a higher ceiling for the future.

I do think Haskins needs work; however, he started his career was with a team, and in a system that did not fit Haskins’ skillset at all. Furthermore, He is 23 years old, has a bit of NFL experience, and he would be a cheap option for the Steelers. Pittsburgh has an aging offensive line that needs to be retooled, and the defensive interior could also use some youth. With a limited amount of draft picks, if the Steelers were able to pull in a franchise quarterback for cheap, then they would pull off one of the better moves any team would be able to make.

Why Haskins makes so much sense for Steelers

Ben has one more year on his contract if he doesn’t retire this season. The Steelers have to think about the future and they need to find a long-term solution at the position. I would suggest signing Dwayne to a 2 or 3-year deal. He could sit behind Ben for the rest of the season and much of 2021 if Roethlisberger were to return. I would assume that Ben would not be able to hold Haskins off throughout all of 2021 because once Haskins acclimates to the system he would be the better arm talent.

The past few weeks made it clear that the Steelers need a quarterback with a strong arm that can push the ball downfield and stretch the defense (though Ben did show some signs of life in this department against the Colts). Haskins has more than enough arm to do so, and his ability to throw the deep ball helped make Terry McLaurin one of the better deep threats in the league. Not only does he throw a good deep ball, but he can also squeeze the ball into tight windows with great velocity and a tight spiral.

Biggest issues with Haskins

The biggest issues with Haskins are his progression through reads and his ball placement which both are under average in the NFL at this point. He doesn’t have the pinpoint accuracy that Ben has been trying to show on some of the shorter throws, and unfortunately, he will make mistakes reading a defense. However, this is a team with multiple deep threats and if Haskins can just throw it behind a defense he can bail himself out of bad spots thanks, especially, to a talent like Chase Claypool.

I do think that Haskins has made some mistakes in handling his loss of the starting job. He had a hard time coming into a team that had been giving up as a rookie. The offensive line looked lifeless, the defense wasn’t playing with an attitude, and the majority of the team looked horrible. Yet, Haskins was yelling, working, doing everything humanly possible to try and get them moving. There were stories of him telling his o-line to not give up on him in the middle of a game.

From day one, Haskins was in a situation with a coaching staff who had no interest in drafting him. Then as he was working through that he battled with a team that had given up. When they brought in Ron Rivera after his rookie season, there were stories that Rivera wasn’t interested in the development of him. I give him credit as a young player trying to turn a franchise around to go through all the turmoil he went through. He did make a mistake during the pandemic, not being smart about wearing a mask. Yet, he was demoted to a 3rd string QB in favor of two quarterbacks that fit Rivera’s offense better.

Washington gave him a huge responsibility to try and turn around the franchise. Yet, they never bought in. He was never given a real chance to succeed. He did show leadership qualities even as a young player and a part of why I want this to happen is because I want to see him have the chance to just play ball. I would love to see him in Pittsburgh, a team-oriented atmosphere focused on winning. There are a lot of veterans on this team. As a quarterback, he does have to lead but I think that Pittsburgh would be a perfect situation for him.

If Haskins is unable to improve his accuracy, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Ben was never an incredibly precise passer. I think with time, in a better system for him, Haskins will learn how to read defenses and progress through reads to a point where he can play at a very very high level. Even if the Steelers do not want to ride with Haskins for the long term, he would be a much better placeholder than Mason Rudolph as Pittsburgh plans their next move.

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I have to say I think Haskins could be the guy. He could be their new franchise quarterback for years to come. It is hard to think about with the cap situation. Yet, if the Steelers really do want to win more championships not just this year or next, but the next 3-5 years they absolutely have to explore every possible avenue for this.