PITTSBURGH, PA — The Pittsburgh Steelers got their guy at offensive coordinator, hiring former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith. Now, their attention turns to building the right roster for their offense to succeed with, and those who make the calls have not been shy about finding a quarterback.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said at the end of the season that Kenny Pickett would “resume” his QB1 status, but there would be competition. The team is hoping that the competition is Mason Rudolph, but it’s not guaranteed he will re-sign with the team this offseason.
Steelers president Art Rooney II backed that statement, saying the “next step” is for the team to have quality quarterback play.
Well, what if they went and signed a veteran who has plenty of success with Smith as an offensive coordinator? While working with Smith in Tennessee, he helped take the Titans to the AFC Championship game, earned his first Pro Bowl, and won Comeback Player of the Year.
That veteran would be no other than Ryan Tannehill, who, at 35 years old, is set to hit the open market after being benched by the Titans this past season. His estimated market value is one year, $4.9 million, according to Spotrac, and chances are, he’s just looking for the right fit.
Pittsburgh may be that fit. They’re looking for competition but might not be looking for a veteran franchise quarterback, and he now gets to reunite with the OC who helped him have his best season.
For the Steelers, they get a player with plenty of starting experience and success in the NFL. If they’re thinking of a bridge QB, he’s the right option as he approaches the end of his career. Plus, he’s not going to cost much to bring in for “competition.”
Rudolph remains their top option, but if he’s headed elsewhere in free agency, maybe the backup plan becomes a familiar face, who could make an easier transition into an offensive playbook he already knows.