The Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback scene changed – among many other things – in a moment along a Florida highway not long ago, when 24-year-old quarterback Dwayne Haskins was beaten and killed, apparently while returning home from training with his teammates. And the new. Quarterback Mitch Trubesky.
The team signed Trubisky this off-season for a two-year deal with a base value of $14.25 million that could rise to $27 million through incentives. Only Mason Rudolph left him, now, or rather, next to him, with the tragic Haskins accident.
As painful as it is, though, there are practical decisions to be made, and the truth is that the Steelers will have to add other quarterbacks to their off-season roster before training camp. Jerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests, reasonably, that the probability is that one will be coming through the draft next week, while the other will likely be a veteran free agent.
He even offered a name to one of the veterans he thought might make the most sense out of those available—regardless of which he chose Mike Glennon, AJ McCarron, Cam Newton, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. He passed these names on in favor of one of Rudolph’s fellow recruits, Josh Rosen.
“He is 25 years old and, above all, has a pedigree [head coach Mike] Tomlin appears to be looking for free agents on the outside — he was a former first-round pick,” Dulac notes. “After all, that’s part of the reason why Tomlin signed Haskins and another former first-round player, Paxton Lynch, in 2019.”
Of course, Lynch wasn’t looking very good on his Michigan Panthers debut in the USFL yesterday, completing two of five passing attempts per one yard. He threw a interception and sensed the ball in a brief scramble, one of four holds for 14 yards. It was Shea Patterson, the former 2020 unoccupied free agent, who helped them win.
The Steelers signed Lynch, drafted number 26 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, a few games into the 2019 season after Ben Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury at the end of the season. Having already replaced Joshua Dobbs at the Jacksonville Jaguars, they upgraded unfitted junior Devlin Hodges to the 53-man roster as Rudolph’s backup, adding Lynch to the coaching staff as a third arm, who had barely practiced all year.
As for Rosen, he was the 10th pick in the 2018 draft, and was traded by the Arizona Cardinals just one year later to the Miami Dolphins, who then tried to trade him in 2020 before being released. He spent time on San Francisco’s 53-man roster of 49 at the end of that year after a string of infections and cases of COVID-19.
Most recently, Rosen served as a reserve quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons last season behind Matt Ryan, who signed in late August after McCarron’s injury. He attempted 11 passes during the season, completing only two for 19 yards. He made two noticeable objections.
Of course, anyone the Steelers sign as a veteran free agent, assuming they’re drafting the quarterback, will likely come in to take on the role of the fourth arm. Bringing in Rosen, or any other veteran free agent, wouldn’t really give any indication of where to put the quarterback in general.