Former Washington Football Team signal-caller Dwayne Haskins signed with the Steelers yesterday, but he did have another offer on the table. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Haskins could have signed with the Panthers, whom he visited earlier this month (Twitter link).
Most likely, both offers were one-year, minimum-salary proposals, so Haskins probably chose the Steelers over the Panthers based on learning opportunity and the incumbent starters for both clubs. Haskins’ game is more similar to Ben Roethlisberger‘s — at least when Big Ben was in his prime — than to Teddy Bridgewater‘s, and 2021 will likely be Roethlisberger’s final season. The Steelers’ backup signal-caller, Mason Rudolph, will also be a free agent after the 2021 campaign, so if Haskins impresses, he could put himself in the conversation for the team’s long-term answer at quarterback.
He may have had a similar opportunity in Carolina, because while Bridgewater is under club control through 2022, he did not play well in his first season with the Panthers and does not currently seem like a good bet to see the end of his deal. But the Panthers have the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, which could theoretically be used on a top college passer, and the team has also been speculatively connected to Deshaun Watson, so Haskins might have been looking at longer odds in Charlotte.
Still, the 2019 first-rounder will need to demonstrate a great deal of improvement both on and off the field to make the Steelers consider extending their relationship beyond the 2021 campaign (if he even lasts the whole season with the team). But he will be teamed up with Matt Canada, Pep Hamilton, or Hue Jackson, who are all in the running for Pittsburgh’s OC gig and who all have considerable experience coaching young signal-callers.