Three Quarterbacks the Pittsburgh Steelers Should Target this Offseason

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It has become clear that the Pittsburgh Steelers need to move on from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  While I am not going to put the blame of any loss squarely on the shoulders of the future Hall of Fame quarterback, I think even he will recognize the speed of the NFL has finally passed him by.  It will be tough to move on from one of the all-time Steeler greats, but the time has come. 

While I do love Kenny Pickett, I do recognize that this upcoming draft has a shallow pool of good quarterbacks.  I also believe the Steelers have to add to the offensive line before trying to address any other issues they are having, and they have a lot.  So for those particular reasons, I don’t want the Steelers to address the QB situation with any top draft picks this offseason.

However, I do feel there are several viable options that can either be acquired through trade or free agency. 

Jimmy Garoppolo

My favorite choice for the Steelers this offseason is to trade for current San Francisco 49er quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.  I have written about Garoppolo before and, since then, I have seen his name pop up more and more as an option. 

I don’t think Garoppolo gets enough credit as a quarterback.  He has the ability to take care of the ball, facilitate an offense, and make some high-level passes among a run-heavy approach.  He also has Super Bowl experience, a better career completion percentage than Aaron Rodgers, and a very impressive career record of 30-12. 

Additionally, trading for Garoppolo should come cheap(ish).  The 49ers are looking to move him to make room for rookie Trey Lance.  While Garoppolo may require more of a return than some QBs that may be on the market, he will certainly have a lower asking price, and have a smaller salary cap hit, than a guy like Rodgers.  Also, acquiring a player like Garoppolo through a trade, instead of drafting a QB, will allow the Steelers to spend their draft picks on O-lineman to protect him, and open up more holes for Najee Harris.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater would solely be, no pun intended, a bridge to the next great Steeler franchise quarterback.  The Steelers haven’t started a true mobile quarterback since Kordell Stewart.  Clearly the current structure of the O-line is not suitable for a pocket passer like Ben Roethlisberger so a change of style at this point couldn’t hurt.

Bridgewater also has dealt with a ton of injuries throughout his career so he hasn’t ever been given a real shot to take on an offense until this season with the Denver Broncos.  The Broncos are 6-5 this season with Bridgewater and are coming off an impressive win over the Los Angeles Chargers.  Plus, aside from a rough 3-game stretch for both Bridgewater and the Broncos as a whole, he hasn’t thrown an interception in his other eight games started.

The one thing I really like about Teddy Bridgewater is that he comes cheap and will have very minimal impact on the salary cap.  This year he had just a $4.4 million cap impact on the Broncos.  If he can be signed for similar value in free agency this offseason, it would open a ton of space for the Steelers to either retain Joe Haden or sign other free agents that can help the team get back on track.  If the Steelers are going to become the run-heavy offense with a dominant defense-type team they’d like to, free agent spending room will be needed.

Hendon Hooker (if he falls to the 4th round)

I know I stated above that the Steeler's top draft picks should be spent on O-linemen, but I really like Tennessee senior Hendon Hooker.  He is not a top quarterback prospect so he should fall into the 4th round, in which case I would like to see the Steelers give him a shot. 

Similar to Bridgewater, Hooker is a mobile quarterback that can avoid the rush and has performed very well under pressure this season.  However, he is an extremely talented passer as well.  Shame on the Tennessee coaching staff for choosing Joe Milton out of camp over Hooker because that was clearly the wrong choice.  Hooker has just three interceptions with 26 passing touchdowns in 12 games this season.  He also has 560 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

In a shallow QB pool I don’t love drafting a quarterback this season, but if Hooker falls to the Steelers in the 3rd or 4th round, I think they should take him.  Franchise quarterbacks have been found late in the draft, and only one 1st round QB from 2021 has a record over .500 this season.  Hooker would also have much less of a cap hit than a 1st rounder.