Even ahead of an offseason that figures to bring unprecedented changes to the quarterback position, there is some level of expectation that some familiar faces won’t be changing places in 2021. And yet, the NFL has me geared to expect the unexpected.
To that end, I found this commentary from Steelers GM Kevin Colbert to be awfully cryptic:
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert doesn't give a strong endorsement for Ben Roethlisberger as QB in 2021: "As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. … He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 17, 2021
When given an opportunity to commit to bringing Ben Roethlisberger back in 2021, Colbert didn’t. And that’s certainly noteworthy, especially considering how much success Roethlisberger has had quarterbacking in Pittsburgh.
To take it a step further, Colbert’s quip about Roethlisberger being a member of the Steelers today reminds me of Rams GM Les Snead saying something similar about Jared Goff’s situation. Days later, Goff was going to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. None of this is to say the Steelers are pushing Roethlisberger out the door. There seems to be a mutual agreement that Roethlisberger’s contract must be restructured if his career in Pittsburgh is to continue. But if that doesn’t happen, then we’re adding another team whose QB needs could ultimately impact the Bears’ own pursuits.
Think about it. There are 16 teams who seem set at quarterback. Those teams: Bengals (Joe Burrow), Bills (Josh Allen), Browns (Baker Mayfield), Bucs (Tom Brady), Cardinals (Kyler Murray), Chargers (Justin Herbert), Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes), Jaguars (Trevor Lawrence), Lions (Jared Goff), Packers (Aaron Rodgers), Raiders (Derek Carr), Rams (Matthew Stafford), Ravens (Lamar Jackson), Seahawks (Russell Wilson), Titans (Ryan Tannehill), and Vikings (Kirk Cousins).
This leaves half the league actively looking for a quarterback. Among those teams, of course, is the Chicago Bears. There aren’t enough good options to fill 32 seats, so I look at this like a game of musical chairs. Unfortunately, adding the Steelers to this mix could really muck things up for the Bears. And ultimately, leave them feeling helpless when the music stops.
So it’ll be worth keeping tabs on this situation. Not because there’s necessarily a fit for the Bears and Roethlisberger. But more along the lines of noting how many teams are competing with Chicago in a year when it must get it right.