A New Name for the Pittsburgh Steeler 2022 QB Dart Board

There has been a lot of speculation about the future of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback position.  Many called upon GM Kevin Colbert to sign Cam Newton before the season.  This may have been a good move considering how well Newton did with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.  Some also still believe Mason Rudolph could be the answer, but after this past Sunday’s game against the Lions, that group is quickly growing smaller.

There have also been fans begging for the Steelers to make a trade for Green Bay Packer superstar Aaron Rodgers or Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson in the upcoming offseason.  Plus, in addition to current NFLers, there are several young and talented quarterbacks entering the 2022 NFL draft.  One of them being Pitt Panther Kenny Pickett, who is currently one of the nation’s top Heisman candidates.

However, one guy I would be interested in the Steelers making a play for has not garnered any speculation from what I have seen.  This quarterback has Super Bowl experience, is only 30 years old, and would have a much smaller impact on the 2022 salary cap than Watson or Rodgers.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  The guy I’m speaking of is San Francisco 49er, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Perfect Fit  

The main reason I like Garoppolo is the way he fits into this Pittsburgh Steeler team as it is currently built.  When Garoppolo brought the 49ers to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2019-2020 season, he had a similar team around him as the Steelers have now.  They had a run-heavy offense that depended on their defense to get the job done.  Not much was expected from the quarterback except taking care of the ball.

This is exactly how the current Steeler roster is set up.  They are always depending on their defense to pull out wins, have an emerging superstar running back in Najee Harris, and the quarterbacks have not been expected to throw the ball much more than ten yards down the field.  While the NFL continues to lean in the direction of passing downfield, the Steelers do not.  I believe that their 50 pass attempts on Sunday from Mason Rudolph was more of a petty move by head coach Mike Tomlin to try one last to prove that Rudolph was the correct draft pick at the time.  Hopefully he has learned his lesson and the Steelers become even more run heavy.

Additionally, I do not think that Garoppolo gets enough credit as an above average quarterback.  While he has many less attempts than either Rodgers or Roethlisberger, Garoppolo’s career completion percentage is actually better than both of the future Hall of Famers.  While I will admit completion percentage is not a good stat to solely rely upon while grading quarterbacks, it is a good one to look at when you’re just looking for a game manager.  He also does not turn the ball over very often, having just 13 interceptions in 16 games in 2019, and only five interceptions in eight games started this season.

Should Come Cheap(er)

Another reason I like the idea of pursuing Garoppolo is the 49ers should be looking to move him anyway.  They used the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 draft to select North Dakota State quarterback, Trey Lance.  Lance has gotten in games this season, but injuries and the presence of Garoppolo has taken away from his playing time.  With the 49ers using their highest pick on a quarterback since Alex Smith in 2005 to select Lance, they are not giving up on him any time soon.  Therefore, I think Garoppolo comes much cheaper in a trade than Rodgers or Watson.  

Watson also is in the midst of a sex offending scandal that I don’t want to dive into.  There are many resources if you want more information on that.

Shallow Draft Pool

The final reason I want the Steelers to pursue Garoppolo is the weaker pool of quarterback options in this year’s upcoming draft.  While I am as big of a Kenny Pickett fan as anyone, I do not think he will fall to the Steelers.  I’m also still unsure why it took him so long to emerge as a superstar.  The Pitt offensive line is also playing much better this season than the Steelers’ offensive line so I’d be curious to see how Pickett performs under NFL-style pressure.

Matt Corral from Ole Miss is currently rated as a top quarterback as well, but the buzz around either of these guys is not even close to that of 2021’s top picks Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields.  So I think if the Steelers want to draft a QB in the first round they should wait until the player pool is deeper.  Spending a first round pick on a quarterback that does not work out can set a franchise back several years (i.e. the Chicago Bears with Mitch Trubisky or the New York Jets with Sam Darnold). 

Jimmy G for 2022

For these reasons, I’d like to throw Garoppolo's name into the 2022 Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback conversation.  I think Jimmy G is a great fit in Pittsburgh and has enough talent to manage a run heavy offense and depend on the defense for wins.  I also think that anyone who was evaluated and selected by Bill Belichick always deserves a chance.  Garoppolo is my pick for the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback.