As the Pittsburgh Steelers start to look toward their future, quarterback is the most obvious position they will need to address before 2022.
Per The Athletic's Mike Sando, one offensive coach in the NFL suggested that Derek Carr "would be a great fit" for the Steelers if the Las Vegas Raiders look to trade him.
"They are almost winning the division with what they have now, and they are missing out at the quarterback position because they are so limited based on not being able to make the tougher throws," the coach said of the Steelers' current offense with Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger has not yet indicated if he will retire, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Dec. 4 that the 39-year-old has told some people in the Steelers organization and former teammates he doesn't expect to be back with Pittsburgh in 2022.
The Steelers would seem likely to be one of the more attractive openings for any quarterback looking for a new team this offseason. They have a level of organizational stability that is rare for any professional sports franchise.
Kevin Colbert has been in the front office since 2000 and has been general manager since 2010. Mike Tomlin has been the Steelers head coach since 2007.
Pittsburgh already has a talented roster around the quarterback in place. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool have combined for 1,885 receiving yards this season. Najee Harris has 1,406 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns as a rookie. T.J. Watt is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL.
The Steelers need to upgrade their offensive line, which has been a problem for the past two seasons. The current group entered Week 16 with the sixth-worst overall grade in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson:
"The Steelers have allowed one of the lowest pressure rates in the NFL, but that's due in large part to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger getting the ball out of his hand in just 2.18 seconds on average, the quickest time in the league. Despite that, four of the five starters have allowed multiple sacks, and the unit's run blocking is poor. Pittsburgh is averaging just 0.9 yards before contact per rush this season, ranking 29th in the league."
Carr continues to be a steady performer for the Raiders. He's never taken the leap into becoming an elite player, but Pittsburgh would probably be better than a fringe playoff contender right now with even average play at quarterback.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Carr has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, including 2021. He has 20 touchdown passes for the third straight year and is completing 68.7 percent of his attempts.
When the Raiders were rumored to be looking at Aaron Rodgers last summer, Derek Carr threatened to retire if he had to play anywhere else.
It's unclear at this point what the Raiders' plans for 2022 will be. They have to hire a full-time head coach, with Richard Bisaccia serving that role on an interim basis.
Las Vegas is tied with the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers with an 8-7 record in the race for the AFC's final playoff spot.