Steelers fans should be terrified by what just happened in the AFC North
By Tommy Jaggi
Deshaun Watson joins a pair of elite rival franchise quarterbacks in the AFC North. Here’s why Pittsburgh Steelers fans have a right to panic.
You might be the most glowingly optimistic Steelers fan out there, and I am okay with that… But what just happened in the AFC North is not good for Pittsburgh.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Texans QB Deshaun Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a haul that includes three future first-round draft picks. This was after reports surfaced that the Browns were officially out of the running for the franchise signal-caller.
While many fans try to convince themselves that Cleveland gave up too much to acquire Watson, I can almost assure you that this will prove to be false. Despite being on a dumpster-fire of a franchise in Houston to begin his career, it was evident that Deshaun Watson was a top-seven quarterback in the NFL when he was on the field.
Obviously, all of this hinges on the off-field stuff, and it’s likely that Watson could still get a suspension even after being acquitted during his trial (much like Ben Roethlisberger and Ezekiel Elliott). Based on the past, this could be six games or more. However, this is just a drop in the hat compared to the grand scale of how long he could be wreaking havoc in Cleveland.
Steelers fans should be terrified
I don’t intend to be all “doom and gloom.” The Steelers have had themselves a fine offseason, and I think they have bettered their roster so far in 2022. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that elite quarterbacks win in today’s NFL, and Mitch Trubisky is currently a distant fourth in the division.
I hated when the Steelers passed on Lamar Jackson in the 2018 NFL Draft (my 10th overall player that year) only to have the Ravens snatch him up two picks later. Regardless of your opinion of him, Lamar currently has the best win percentage among active NFL quarterbacks since coming into the league.
It was another blow to the gut when the Cincinnati Bengals were in a position to take one of the best quarterback prospects over the past decade in Joe Burrow in 2020. Burrow has already made it to a Super Bowl and he swept the Steelers in the regular season last year.
Now the AFC North has the trifecta. With Watson, Burrow, and Jackson all in the division, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to finish 4-2 in the division, and it’s not surprising to see their odds drop after the Watson news.
Cleveland now jumped up to the favorites to win the AFC North, courtesy of odds from WynnBET. Watson already has a 10-win season and an 11-win season with unspectacular Texans teams in the first four years of his NFL career. He did not suit up in 2021 while his case was pending.
Our hope is that the Cleveland Browns will find a way to mess this up as they have done with every other quarterback to walk through their doors for decades, but Deshaun Watson is by far the best of them, and he could spell trouble in the AFC North for years to come. We have a great winning organization in Pittsburgh, but Steelers fans now have a right to be nervous.