There is rampant speculation about the future of future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger now that his friend and former Offensive Coordinator Randy Fichtner is gone. Some view this as giving Roethlisberger a bit of an “ultimatum.” Either stay for one more season which means learn a new coordinator (Matt Canada) or retire. For those that think the latter will happen, let me tell you that there won’t be any signings of a free agent. This organization is ready to ride next year with Mason Rudolph whether you or I like it.
Roethlisberger wasn’t exactly “bad” this year throwing 33 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions. He had moments of sheer brilliance such as his second half against Indianapolis but he also had some uglier moments which are still fresh in our heads. Unfortunately however, playing with a cap hit of $41 million isn’t exactly ideal. The Steelers would recoup some of this, not nearly all, with a restructure or retirement but we have to think about the future and many in the sports gambling world already are.
But allow me to circle back to the point. This idea that the Steelers will go and get Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota or some other QB is living in fantasy land. Rudolph has a year left on his rookie contract and the franchise remains high on him. Matt Canada had a big impact on him this season and that was evident in his performance against Cleveland in week 17. Canada interviewed for the Miami Offensive Coordinator position before eventually being tapped by the Steelers as their new OC.
The point here is that despite any misgivings I may have with the former Oklahoma State standout, Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and company will roll the dice with him for at least one year. I get it, many will point to how much he struggled when tasked with replacing Roethlisberger in 2019 but that was essentially his rookie year and he had no Quarterbacks Coach either. If I sound like I’m defending Rudy I am to a point.
With the Steelers set to undergo some form of a rebuild, especially on offense then there’s really no need to try move money around to bring in a free agent who’ll demand a high price. Give Rudolph his fair shot and then let things fall as they may. All of this of course depends on Roethlisberger and I learned yesterday he’s apparently open to a new playcaller in the Steel City.
If it turns out he isn’t, then Mason Rudolph is going to be the guy so consider yourselves warned Steelers Nation.