5. Pittsburgh Steelers
After watching the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers season, the most notable takeaway was how desperately the Steelers needed a competent quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger. After Big Ben went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2, the Steelers were forced to start a combination of Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges for the remainder of the season.
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Despite boasting a defense that ranked top-three in yards, takeaways and sacks, the Steelers finished with an 8-8 record and missed out on a playoff berth.
Much of the team’s failures can be attributed to the replacement quarterbacks, who combined for 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions while averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt. If the Steelers had a competent backup, they likely could have squeaked into the playoffs. While Pittsburgh most assuredly laments not having a contingency plan in place, they have a chance to implement one now by signing Marcus Mariota in free agency.
Mariota would be a serviceable fill-in if needed, given he has never garnered less than 7.0 yards per pass attempt in his career and has thrown 76 touchdowns to 44 interceptions in his five seasons with Tennessee. Mariota would be a massive upgrade over the current reserves in Pittsburgh and a great insurance policy if Roethlisberger were to go down again.
Pittsburgh currently has negative $2 million in cap space and no picks in the first round of the draft due to the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade. If they want a solid backup and potential successor to the soon-to-be 38-year-old Roethlisberger, Mariota would be their best and most affordable option.