Ben Roethlisberger played in just two games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019 due to an elbow injury. He returned in 2020 and had ups and downs during their 11-5 campaign. The question this season was whether he could stay healthy with an entirely new offensive line.
Two games into 2021, Roethlisberger is dealing with a pectoral injury. At the time of publishing, he hasn't been ruled out of Week 3 yet. But Mike Tomlin was quoted as saying the Steelers have to be ready to be adjustable. Here are three options for the Steelers in the instance Roethlisberger misses time.
3 QBs the Steelers could consider to replace Ben Roethlisberger
# 1 - Cam Newton
Cam Newton is the most prominent name in the free-agent market. Newton's biggest strength would be his mobility. The Steelers' offensive line has struggled mightily to protect Roethlisberger. Newton's mobility would help him prolong plays and escape pressure. He'd also offer rushing ability as a dual-threat quarterback.
Newton threw for 6.4 yards per attempt in 2020. Roethlisberger has averaged 6.7 yards per attempt this year. Newton would acclimate well to the short routes run by the Steelers wide receivers. The Steelers rely on Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster to earn yards after the catch. Newton is a good fit schematically and offers something extra with his mobility.
# 2 - Mitchell Trubisky
After Newton, the free-agent market is bare at quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky currently backs up Josh Allen on the Buffalo Bills. But the Steelers could trade for him, albeit they'd have to give up a decent haul. Trubisky had ups and downs in 40 starts. But he's a former first-round pick and has just turned 27 years old.
Trubisky takes more risks than Newton but doesn't take too many shots downfield. He also fits the Steelers' scheme of throwing short passes. He can serve as a game manager and let the offense run through Najee Harris. Trubisky is labeled a bust for a reason with his bad decision-making. But in a controlled Steelers offense, he wouldn't have as many chances to throw interceptions downfield.
# 3 - Devlin Hodges
Devlin "Duck" Hodges would be a blast from the past. The Steelers started Hodges in six games in 2019 when Roethlisberger was hurt. Hodges threw too many interceptions, but he took chances. He has been on and off the practice squad since then and is currently without a team. Hodges would bring experience and know the offense the Steelers run more than Newton or Trubisky.
Before reuniting with Hodges, the Steelers should consider backup Dwayne Haskins. Haskins showed a lot of promise in the preseason. His mobility will help him stay up while the offensive line tries to gain cohesion. Haskins was a first-round pick in 2019 and still has the potential to be a starter in the NFL.