Steelers, other QB trade candidates have one less option on the board

Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers

Products You May Like

The Atlanta Falcons are expected to hold onto Matt Ryan for at least another year, meaning quarterback-desperate teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers will have one less viable trade option to explore.

Though Matt Ryan is still playing at a high level, the Atlanta Falcons are not expected to trade him this offseason to quarterback-desperate franchises like the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Washington Commanders.

Ryan has spent his entire NFL career out of Boston College with the Dirty Birds. He is a multi-time Pro Bowler, was the 2016 NFL MVP and is pushing towards Canton enshrinement at this point of his career. While the Falcons have not made the playoffs since 2017, they simply cannot afford to move Ryan’s massive contract at this time. He carries a $40.525 million dead cap hit for 2022.

With the NFC South poised to be the worst division in football next year, one could argue Ryan and the Falcons are the favored to win the utterly toothless division under second-year head coach Arthur Smith. They were arguably the worst seven-win team in NFL history only a year ago. Then again, the 2021 Falcons were incredibly devoid of talent. Let’s see what Terry Fontenot does now.

Now that CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora says Ryan is not a candidate to be traded, where do teams in dire need of a veteran quarterback like the Steelers go from here?

Pittsburgh Steelers, other QB-desperate teams no longer in play for Matt Ryan

Had Ryan been available for a trade, he would have made the Steelers Super Bowl viable, the Commanders a real threat to win the NFC East and have the Denver Broncos pushing for the AFC playoffs. Just because Atlanta has been incredibly snake-bitten does not mean their franchise quarterback stinks. He can and will continue to win a ton of games in this league until he retires.

Where does this leave Pittsburgh? Promoting Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins from within will challenge the fanbase’s loyalty. The Steelers would have to trade up from No. 20 to be in position to draft Kenny Pickett (Pitt) and Malik Willis (Liberty). If they were to stay put, they would have a shot at landing either Matt Corral (Ole Miss), Sam Howell (UNC) or Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati).

As far as free agency goes, do the Steelers really want to enter the wonderful world of being quarterbacked by the likes of Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky or Jameis Winston? While all three are former top-two picks, there are plenty of reasons why this unholy triumvirate did not get a second contract with the teams who drafted them. The Steelers would be Team No. 3 for all three.

Because free agency is a total garage sale of a crapshoot and there is nothing enticing currently in the quarterback room, the Steelers should either draft Ben Roethlisberger’s heir apparent in the top-20 or aggressively pursue a trade for another team’s starter. Trade candidates include Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz. So who should the Steelers pursue?

Simply put, if they can get Rodgers, then go get Rodgers. It does not matter what it costs. All that matters is putting together a better trade package than what the Broncos or the Tennessee Titans can offer. Garoppolo is what he is, but he has won four playoff games quarterbacking the San Francisco 49ers. At the very least, he is a high-end stop-gap for Pittsburgh to seriously consider.

Trading for Wentz is and always will be a horrible idea, just ask the Indianapolis Colts how that went for them a year ago. How do you lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars down in Clowntown on the final week of the season in a gotta-have-it game? As for Tannehill, that may not be a bad option, especially if the Titans somehow beat out the Steelers or Broncos for the right to land Rodgers.

While Ryan would have been a great fit in Pittsburgh, the Falcons are not taking that dead cap hit.

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *