A month after Philip Rivers announced his retirement, the Indianapolis Colts already have his heir apparent. Former Philadelphia Eagles franchise quarterback Carson Wentz was traded to the Colts on Thursday afternoon. The move made me pause and wonder, Why aren’t the Steelers better prepared for if Ben Roethlisberger decides to retire?
Though Rivers’ retirement was unexpected by many, he gave the Colts time to get their ducks in a row. Surprisingly, Andrew Luck retired two weeks before the 2019 season, so Indianapolis had no other choice than to roll with Jacoby Brisset, who had starter experience.
In both situations, Indianapolis had an answer.
If Big Ben decides not to return or he and the Steelers can’t agree on salary, Pittsburgh will be in a pickle.
What the Wentz trade should tell us about the Steelers organization is that they’re comfortable with the potential for mediocrity at the quarterback position. Should Ben hang up his cleats, as Rivers did, Pittsburgh will find itself woefully unprepared. Art Rooney, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin don’t have a solid game plan for a future without Big Ben. They can’t afford a free agent starter, nor do they have the draft capital to trade for one. And at No. 24, it’s a gamble as to what kind of quarterback they’d get, and, historically, the Steelers are too set in their ways to trade the farm to move up in the draft.
They’d rather roll with Rudolph.
Mason Rudolph hasn’t shown that he’s able to carry a team. Still needing development heading into the fourth year of his career should tell you all you need to know — he’s not the answer to a Roethlisberger-less team. At best, Rudolph is a bandaid that could keep the Steelers from completely imploding. At worst, he’ll be a free agent next March.
Steelers Nation has been spoiled by the caliber of quarterback that Roethlisberger instantly became. And now we’re all left to wonder where our team will be if Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t come back, and even where the franchise will be in the future if he does play for just one more season.