Steelers GM Fine With Backup QB Situation

The Steelers did not draft a quarterback and have not signed a veteran this offseason, and GM Kevin Colbert elaborated on why recently.

Not only did the Steelers’ 21st-year GM confirm the team did not make an offer to Jameis Winston, he said the Steelers intend to go forward with the backups they used last season. Pittsburgh has former third-round pick Mason Rudolph and ex-UDFA Devlin Hodges under contract. Former first-round pick Paxton Lynch is as well, though he did not play last season.

We’re comfortable with Mason Rudolph as a backup and Devlin Hodges in the mix. Between the two of them, they were 8-6 last year,” Colbert said during an appearance on the #PFTPM podcast (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). “You get into a backup quarterback situation, 8-6 is not 14-0 but there’s some comfort in knowing that they can get you through the hopefully nonexistent spell that may occur if your quarterback gets injured.”

The Steelers make sense for a veteran, with Ben Roethlisberger coming off elbow surgery in advance of his age-38 season. His two backups oversaw a last-place offensive DVOA season. The Steelers ranked sixth in offensive DVOA in 2018, when Big Ben started 16 games, but plummeted to last in 2019 after his Week 2 injury. The Steelers’ improved defense (third in DVOA) played a significant part in the team’s eight wins. Rudolph and Hodges tied for last place in Next Gen Stats’ average completed air yards metric, with each at 4.5 per completion.

Cam Newton is now believed to be open to being a backup in the right situation. Though, Newton has dealt with more injury trouble than Roethlisberger has in recent years. Joe Flacco is now shelved until perhaps September. Other veterans available include Blake Bortles, Geno Smith, Trevor Siemian, Mike Glennon and Drew Stanton.

Colbert attributed part of his team’s lack of interest in veterans to its salary cap situation. The Steelers hold $5.7MM in cap space and have yet to sign any of their draft picks. Although Pittsburgh frequently restructures contracts to create cap room, the team is not planning to change up its Roethlisberger-Rudolph-Hodges QB room for the time being.

Lot of times when we get into salary cap management and you have significant dollars in your starter, it’s hard to put a lot of dollars in your backup,” Colbert said. “We’re very comfortable knowing if need be Mason and Devlin and/or Devlin and Mason and even Paxton Lynch, who’s got No. 1 talent. We’ll see what we got, but we’re comfortable with that right now.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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24 comments on “Steelers GM Fine With Backup QB Situation

    • The Mistake of Giving Eugene Melnyk a Liver Transplant

      Have you seen the Raiders depth chart?

  1. crosseyedlemon

    The Steelers decided Johnny Unitas was worthless as a backup but they like Mason Rudolph.

    • TJECK109

      Yeah they also passed on Tom Brady. I mean if it was within the last 5 years I’d give you some ground but this is just plain silly

        • TJECK109

          Yes I know, my point was that he would be better served using that as a criticism of qb evaluation than going back to Unitas

          • crosseyedlemon

            Brady was a might have been Steeler but Unitas actually was a Steeler and they dumped him.

  2. hinglemccringleberry

    Fire Colbert . I don’t wanna have to put hope in any of the 3 backups. This is what makes me wonder about how much the Rooney’s really know about football. Over dramatic I know, but still.

  3. Simmons>Russ

    With Cowboys signing Dalton as a ‘backup’ on a 1 year deal and Dak being on the franchise tag for a year. I wouldn’t be surprised if him and Jerry couldn’t agree to terms, Dalton becomes the starter and Dak looks out the exit door.

    In which case, maybe Big Ben doesn’t bounce back from injury, maybe he is to old and injured now. Dak could make sense for the Steelers.

    He would be moving from the NFC to the AFC which is fine, in his division he would have Lamar, Baker and Joe Burrow. Dak would be up against other young QBs with solid young weapons. He has a young RB in Conner, young receivers Juju, Washington, Johnson and Claypool. Plus Eric Enron at TE and another solid O line.
    For the Steelers it would make sense long term wise having a solid young QB to go with your other younger weapons in a division that is getting younger and more challenging.
    Dak under Mike Tomlin could also be great at unlocking him and making him better so far he’s had Jason Garrett who is trash and he’s been a two time pro bowler and was rookie of the year over a bunch of solid players.

  4. mbgutt

    Hodges needs to go!!! Mason is ok at three but the season is over if Ben isn’t ready or goes down.

    • phils phanatic

      hodges was more in sync with the offense in his time last year than rudolph was. not saying duck should be the backup but mason rudolph shouldn’t be any more than a #3 as well

  5. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    Flacco could step right in and lead a team that won with “Duck”.

    Bortles is very similar to Ben, up to and including the limited mental acumen and resulting picks. Give him another shot.

    Literally, throw a dart at the UFA’s and whoever you hit is very likely to be better than Rudolph or Hodges.

    Makes no sense…unless this is just smoke to soften up one of their agent’s demands. Unlikely. More likely it’s just their “way”…which makes no sense.

  6. wagner13

    Winston’s $1.1 million contract was too lucrative? Give me a break. At least give the market your due diligence. Rudolph and Duck are lackluster game managers at best

  7. bravesfan88

    You all can have CJ Beathard, for let’s say you give the 49ers your 5th round pick, and the 49ers will give you their 6th and 7th round picks??


    He isn’t going to light Pittsburgh on fire, but he is better than a Duck, he can run an offense, and he isnt stupid enough to fight DL’men!?!….UPGRADE!!

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