The Pittsburgh Steelers suddenly need a new quarterback now that Ben Roethlisberger is officially set to retire. The in-house options of Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins don't excite fans, and may even have some worried that those two will compete for the starting job.
Both should be in a competition in general. However, a consistent winner like the Steelers seem poised to go out and acquire a proven talent. Remember, the team has never had a losing season under Mike Tomlin. Why start in 2022?
Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are the home run options for Pittsburgh. The problem is that neither is confirmed to be ready to force a trade out of their respective cities. And even if they do, Pittsburgh isn't automatically a top choice.
This puts the name of Jimmy Garoppolo into the mix as a realistic option. We know he is on his way out of San Francisco because the team drafted Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick last year. Garoppolo also failed to do enough to lead the 49ers to victory in the NFC Championship Game. A late interception to seal the game also sealed his fate out in the Bay Area.
So how can the Steelers go about adding Garoppolo to their roster?
The Steelers have a safe and realistic option at QB in Jimmy Garoppolo
The 49ers quarterback is under contract for one more season and carries a salary of $25.5 million. His dead cap is only $1.4 million, so a trade before June 1 is inevitable. The Steelers would also be doing the 49ers a favor here, so it's not like any top picks have to head to them in return. The fact he only has one year remaining lowers his value as well.
Let's say Garoppolo lands in Pittsburgh. He is coming off a season in which he threw for 3,810 yards and 20 touchdowns in 15 games. Those are not mind-blowing numbers, but he has had proven success when healthy. He has only been a full-time starter in 2019 and 2021, and the 49ers went deep into the postseason both times.
There is a criticism out there that he was propped up by the team's running game. Well, if he goes to Pittsburgh, fans can still expect Najee Harris to have a huge role in the offense. He himself propped up Roethlisberger this past year, so this isn't some new formula.
The key here is that the Steelers can get a starter who is ready to go on Week 1 and who can do so without much issue. Trying to land players like Rodgers or Wilson involves lucrative trade packages and convincing as well. Landing Garoppolo is much more straightforward, and something like a second-round pick could even be considered an overpay.
The Steelers did not establish a proper succession plan for Roethlisberger. Giving Garoppolo a one-year tryout allows them to stay competitive and also keep their options open for 2023.
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