KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in a long time, the Pittsburgh Steelers are without a franchise quarterback, after Ben Roethlisberger played in what will likely be his final game with the team in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
If they have an in-house option to replace Roethlisberger, it doesn’t seem that it’s obvious to the locker room, based on the responses on Sunday night.
Defensive tackle Cam Heyward was asked if it was hard to envision the Steelers beyond Roethlisberger, and mentioned the team’s front office and scouting, but not the current backup, Mason Rudolph.
“Starting next year, we’ll see with the front office,” Heyward said. “We’ve got great scouting, so we’ll see what happens.”
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, when asked if the identity of the 2022 starting quarterback will be important in his contract negotiations with the Steelers, he said that it would be, before rattling off a list of candidates.
“Obviously, we’re trying to figure out who the next man up is,” Smith-Schuster said. “We’ve got Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins. We have guys. You just never know. Obviously, it’s going to be a talk with Coach Tomlin, the OC and everything. It’s a very important thing.”
Rudolph has been Roethlisberger’s primary backup since 2019 and has played in 10 games in that time, with a 5-4-1 record and 80.9 passer rating. But it seems that the fourth-year backup has not gained the faith of the locker room as a Roethlisberger successor.
What do you think?
Who do you want to succeed Ben Roethlisberger as #Steelers QB?
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) January 17, 2022