4 reasons why Steelers made right move by keeping Ben

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2). Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers have no clearly better option at quarterback.

The Steelers currently have two quarterbacks aside from Ben on the roster. Neither of them would be a clear improvement over Ben in 2021. Dwayne Haskins is going to need at least a year to correct his bad habits, learn the system, and develop a better knowledge of NFL defenses. Mason Rudolph has still been showing a lack of ability to place the ball to hit receivers in stride or throw them open. He also didn’t show any more pocket awareness in his lone start in 2020 than he did in 2019. There is also no free-agent quarterback that would be as good as Ben or better which the Steelers could remotely afford in 2021.

That just leaves the draft and the Steelers at the 24th pick aren’t going to get a prospect that looks like a clear improvement over Ben. Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trevor Lawrence are the 3 safest quarterbacks to start day 1 in their rookie year from this draft class and there is a chance that they are all off the board by the 7th pick.

Trey Lance, Mac Jones, Kyle Trask, and Jordan Newman are all more volatile options that have various amounts of potential but ideally would get time in a system to get comfortable with the speed of the NFL. The Steelers are still in the mindset to win as much as possible now. Unless they trade a ton of draft capital, they aren’t getting a shot at the top 3 prospects.

However, they need that capital to draft players(rookie contracts have low cap hits) to fill out their roster around the superstar talents that will command a lot of money. T.J Watt should end up as the highest-paid defender in the NFL at the time of his extension while Minkah Fitzpatrick is a multiple-time All-Pro still on his rookie contract. Devin Bush will likely command some money along with Terrell Edmunds(who is going to be a pro-bowler in 2021 if he makes another leap in development) and Cam Sutton who is likely going to be their best coverage corner in 2021 and beyond.

The Steelers build through the draft for a reason, it leaves them with cap room to pay the players they like, the players that allow them to run the schemes they like to run. The Steelers also draft notoriously well and being one of the better teams at drafting talent makes it harder to give up the chance at 3 or 4 good players on rookie contracts for a franchise quarterback. Considering how much roster turnover is expected to happen with 23 free agents the Steelers can’t sell house for a single player in the draft and expect to win big in the near future, especially with $22 million in dead cap if Ben had been released.