Life after Big Ben – Can the Steelers still contend after Ben Roethlisberger retires?

The Steelers have been very lucky to have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL since 2004. But Ben Roethlisberger is reaching the end of his career. It’s expected that he’ll play one or two more years and that’s it. So what do the Steelers do then? Will they contend or fall apart Cleveland Browns-style?
During the Le’Veon Bell contract discussions, it was argued that the Steelers shouldn’t give Bell a long term contract because ‘Ben will be gone then you won’t need Le’Veon Bell’. Why? Why is it is assumed that the Steelers will be horrible when Ben retires? They’ll still have a great offensive line, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell (maybe) and a defense that is still young.
While it is true that a healthy Ben Roethlisberger is necessary to contend for a Super Bowl, that doesn’t mean the Steelers can’t contend for a playoff spot with a pretty good quarterback. But that’s the problem – where do you find a quarterback that’s good? Is there a quarterback tree we can pick from? They could draft a quarterback but it would take a couple years for that quarterback to be good. Would there be a good quarterback available via free agency or trade?
Lets look at previous offseasons to see what quarterbacks were available. This past offseason year Brock Osweiler was traded, Ryan Fitzpatrick went to the Bucs, Case Keenum signed with the Vikings, Mark Sanchez went to the Bears, Josh McCown went to the Jets, Geno Smith went to Giants and Mike Glennon went to the Bears. Oh boy. If the Steelers end up with anyone like these guys for quarterback, they’ll be in trouble.
How about 2016? RG3 went to the Browns. Ok now I’m depressed. 2015? Sam Bradford and Nick Foles were traded. Brian Hoyer went to Houston. Matt Schaub went to Oakland. I’d rather have Matt Leblanc playing quarterback for the Steelers.
So it looks like there won’t be much help in via trades or free agency for the Steelers because there just aren’t enough good quarterbacks in the NFL. Maybe they’ll get lucky and a quarterback like Drew Brees or Peyton Manning will be available.


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Lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan here.

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