Steelers fans have their dreams crushed in a matter of hours

NFC quarterback Russel Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (3) passes the ball against the. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
NFC quarterback Russel Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (3) passes the ball against the. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Pittsburgh Steelers fans were salivating over the chance of getting a franchise quarterback this offseason, but here’s why the top options are no longer possible.

Franchise quarterbacks rarely become available, but when they do, it’s no surprise to see teams get into a bidding war.

In March of 2020, the legendary Tom Brady inked a massive new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl just a matter of months later. In 2021, the Rams made a blockbuster trade to acquire quarterback Matthew Stafford — one that was highly criticized at the time. However, Los Angeles won the Super Bowl in their first season after trading for Stafford.

Going all the way back to 2012, the Colts saw a window of opportunity to go from a 36-year-old Peyton Manning to highly-touted QB prospect, Andrew Luck. Manning obviously went on to win a Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos.

Though it’s not every day that a team is willing to make their franchise quarterback available to the highest bidder, that opportunity happened twice early in 2022. Teams have been inquiring about possible trades for Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.

To the dismay of many Steelers fans, the news of these two players hit hard on March 8th. Within a matter of hours, it was confirmed that Rodgers would be staying in Green Bay while the Seahawks were shipping Wilson to the Denver Broncos in a blockbuster trade.

Obviously, the compensation for Wilson didn’t come cheap, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Denver was forced to give up two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, and three players: DT Shelby Harris, TE Noah Fant, and QB Drew Lock. In return, the Broncos received Russell Wilson and a fourth-round pick.

Did the Steelers miss an opportunity?

On the surface, this seems like an absurd amount of draft capital to give up for a player even as talented and successful as Russell Wilson. If Aaron Rodgers had been dealt in a trade, the compensation likely would have been similar.

Dreams have been crushed with these two players finding homes other than Pittsburgh (not that there was a great chance of acquiring either in the first place). Regardless, you still have to ask yourself if Pittsburgh missed an opportunity here.

If you were completely shocked when you saw the king’s ransom the Broncos had to give up to acquire Russell Wilson, then perhaps you should reassess how you value the quarterback position. Nothing is more important to your team’s success than the quarterback — this goes for everybody.

Let’s look at the Rams, for example. Aaron Donald is an utterly dominant football player — one of the best defenders of all time. However, nobody is going to argue that Stafford didn’t have more ‘value’ to the team due to the position he plays.

I can understand both sides of the argument for Steelers fans. On one hand, a quarterback like Rodgers or Wilson would have busted their Super Bowl window wide open for the foreseeable future and would have increased their playoff odds exponentially.

At the same time, the Steelers aren’t exactly overflowing with talent right now, and it’s possible that they could be even more than just a quarterback away from competing for a championship.

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When it’s all said and done, I hardly think that the Broncos are going to be upset with this trade, and the Packers could certainly win another Super Bowl with Rodgers. Steelers fans now have to face the reality that they are probably going to get a lackluster QB through free agency or press their luck in the NFL Draft.