Presume Ben decides to hang it up after the season. What would you like to see from the organization at QB for next year? I wouldn't mind seeing Stafford in black and gold while they groom a young QB.
When Ben retires I'd rather the Steelers just get a solid Journeyman, like they had in Charlie Batch. Someone who's been around a while, and is ok, and can help keep a young QB focused, but is in no way competition for them. Also, we're in salary cap hell, I don't want them spending any money on QB until they resign a rookie. The ONLY exception, is if they think they can sign an amazing talent at a reasonable price (like the Saints did with Brees back in the day, but that situation is very, very rare).
I think our best bet is to go all out while we have Ben (maybe 1-2 more years), and then trade up in the draft to get a QB the team likes. I can't see us drafting top 5, even without Ben. But, a lot of our team needs to be resigned in the next season or 2.
List of starters not signed for next season: Dupree, Villanueva, Conner, Juju, Feiler, Zach Banner, Alualu, Avery Williamson, Mike Hilton, Jordan Berry. Our current Cap Allocation is $201 million, aka potentially $25 million above the salary cap... Big Ben - $40 mil, Joe Haden - $15.6 mil, Steven Nelson - $14.4 mil, Vance McDonald - $8 mil, Decastro $14.3 mil, Pouncey - $14.5 mil. I could see extensions for some of the guys above just to make some cap space for next year, but not sure how many good years Haden & Pouncey have left.
After next season (2021) things start to look weird. The players we have signed for 2022:
- QB - 0
- RB - Snell & McFarland
- FB - Derek Watt
- WR - Claypool, Diontae
- TE - Gentry
- OL - Dotson
- DL - Tuitt, Heyward, Buggs, Carlos Davis
- LB - Devin Bush, Alex Highsmith, Ulysees Gilbert
- S/CB - Justin Layne, James Pierre
- Sp T - Bos
That's both crazy, and a huge opportunity for the team. The amount of potential turnover in the next 3-4 years could be huge, but it could finally free up our cap space (assuming Ben retires in the next 2-3 years which seems probable). I think we'll resign Minkah and TJ Watt, at least I hope so. And hopefully Bush bounces back from this ACL and leads our D for many years to come.
I wonder if Colbert steps aside in the next year or 2 and lets Omar Khan craft the next iteration of the Steelers. I hope we can close out this version with a Super Bowl!