Matt Stafford deal could deter Steelers from trading for a quarterback

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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The Steelers may have one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL, but here’s why the Matt Stafford deal could deter them from making a trade.

We all know by now that Ben Roethlisberger is no longer the future of this team. In fact, there’s still a small chance he may not even be the quarterback in 2021. Entering his 18th NFL season with a Hall of Fame resume, the Steelers quarterback has shown a noticeable drop in play since the 2017 season and the clock is ticking on his NFL career.

Ben seemed to be on the cusp of retiring in 2021, but he recently voiced that he would like to return for one more season. If he had retired, one of the quarterbacks that suggested who could be the next man up is Matthew Stafford. On Saturday night, however, Stafford was traded for a king’s ransom to the Los Angelos Rams in a package that included Jared Goff, two first-round draft choices, and a third-round draft choice.

This is far more than most would have predicted. Though Detriot was being asked to take on Goff’s massive contract that has him being the sixth-highest paid quarterback through 2024, the draft compensation was more than experts had predicted for the nearly 33-year-old Stafford.

Stafford deal could scare Steelers from making a move

Because Ben Roethlisberger appears set to return and play out the final year of his deal (assuming the Steelers can do something about his cap hit) trade for a quarterback seems unlikely at this point. However, this is a route I could have seen the team going.

Kevin Colbert and the Rooney’s are all about winning now – regardless of what it seems to cost in the future. That is why the Steelers are constantly restructuring contracts and pushing money into the future. Had Ben chosen to retire, I think trading for a quarterback was a very realistic option, and Stafford was a player who could have been on their radar.

However, a trade seems almost entirely out of the question at this point. Not only is Stafford no longer an option to them if Roethlisberger elects to retire this offseason, but the price just went up. NFL teams clearly have a better understanding of the value of a good quarterback than most fans and analysts do, and in today’s NFL, it’s incredibly hard to win without one.

With the recent Stafford trade, everyone is wondering what Deshaun Watson will fetch if Houston decides to let him seek a deal, and there is now speculation that he will garner at least four first-round picks.

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The Steelers are no doubt going to try to use their draft capital to bolster their roster for a final run, and though they have made some aggressive moves recently (trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick and trading up for Devin Bush) I find it very hard to believe that they would devote that many resources to a quarterback in a trade – even if Big Ben decides to call it quits.