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Top QB Options for Steelers After Aaron Rodgers Announces Return to Packers

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMarch 8, 2022

Dan Steinberg/AP Images for NFL

Two-time defending MVP Aaron Rodgers is sticking around in Green Bay. 

🅿️at McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

BREAKING: According to my sources.. <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronRodgers12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AaronRodgers12</a> will officially be returning to the Green Bay Packers.<br><br>There is no deal in place currently but there is said to be a Cap Friendly deal on the way.<br><br>Retirement was a real consideration &amp; in the end<br><br>🗣 HE IS BACK WITH THE PACK <a href="https://t.co/1lpdcLxyPL">pic.twitter.com/1lpdcLxyPL</a>

Aaron Rodgers @AaronRodgers12

Hey everyone, just wanted to clear some things up; YES I will be playing with the <a href="https://twitter.com/packers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@packers</a> next year, however, reports about me signing a contract are inaccurate, as are the supposed terms of the contract I “signed”. I’m very excited to be back 💪🏼 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/year18?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#year18</a>❤️

Oh, and Russell Wilson has reportedly been traded to the Denver Broncos, per ESPN's Adam Schefter

That takes the two top potential targets for quarterback-needy teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers off the table, leading to the question: Which player will they pursue now? 

Will they make a move for Jimmy Garoppolo? Will they turn to free agency, pursuing players like Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky? Or perhaps the NFL draft, where Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Matt Corral and Sam Howell are considered the top prospects?

While players like Rodgers and Wilson are now off the table, Garoppolo is very available in San Francisco with Trey Lance waiting in the wings. 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> will look everywhere when it comes to replacing Ben Roethlisberger. Everywhere. <a href="https://t.co/2o80nxal6u">pic.twitter.com/2o80nxal6u</a>

David Lombardi @LombardiHimself

With the Aaron Rodgers situation finally settled, chances for a quicker resolution to the Jimmy Garoppolo matter increase. <br><br>Any team on the vet QB market was at least interested in what would happen with Rodgers, and that’s now settled

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to soon undergo shoulder surgery that would sideline him until this summer, sources tell ESPN. It is not expected to impact his trade status and Garoppolo still is likely to be traded this month, per sources.

Garoppolo is probably the safest option among the quarterbacks available for teams in need at the position. He'd hardly be a poor consolation prize for the Steelers.

Of the free-agent group, Trubisky is the name to watch out for, with Fowler reporting he's very much on Pittsburgh's radar.

Robert Mays @robertmays

One name has come up more than any other in the QB conversations I've had over the past week. <a href="https://t.co/9nogl8FHpQ">pic.twitter.com/9nogl8FHpQ</a>

Winston seems likely to return to New Orleans, while Mariota and Bridgewater are backup plans at this point. 

Evan Massey @massey_evan

One former <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> exec spoke to me about Jameis Winston.<br><br>“Everything I’ve heard leads him back to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Saints?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Saints</a>. They firmly believe he can be their QB for the next three to four years and compete with him leading the way. However, watch out for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> as a suitor as well.”

Two other names to keep an eye on: Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz. The status of the former depends entirely on his legal situation. Until that's resolved, it's hard to imagine any team trading for him. 

As for Wentz, ESPN's Chris Mortensen has reported that Wentz expects to be released or traded, though Fowler added that the Indianapolis Colts have remained "coy" on his future prospects and head coach Frank Reich gave him a vote of confidence during the NFL Scouting Combine. 

"I believe in him," he told reporters. "I stuck my neck out for him. I stuck my neck out for him last year. I was a big part of that decision to get him here, and so I believe he's going to continue to have a lot of success at quarterback—that might be here, it might not be here. That decision has yet to be determined, but I still believe in the person, and I still believe in the player."

If he's put on the market, however, he'd be an interesting option for the Steelers. 

But it would also be Wentz's third team in as many years. His upside is higher than everybody mentioned outside of Wilson and Watson, but he hasn't lived up to that billing since he was an MVP candidate in 2017. Of course, that season ended for him when he tore his ACL and had to watch backup Nick Foles lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl title. 

Wentz has never returned to that level of play. Betting on him to ever do so is a risky one at this point.

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