Steelers Linked to Former $137 Million Star QB in Hot Water - Sport News

Steelers Linked to Former $137 Million Star QB in Hot Water

It’s hard to find a free agent quarterback the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been connected to this offseason. On February 19, Pro Football Talk’s Peter King named the Steelers a potential suitor for a signal caller that won’t be available to start the regular season because of a PED suspension — Jimmy Garoppolo.

Kenny Pickett Jimmy Garoppolo

“What team will take a shot on him as a starter when he’s on the street this offseason — knowing he’s out for the first two games? Pittsburgh, maybe?” King wrote.

Garoppolo dealt with a concussion and back injury during the first half of the 2023 season. But due to poor performance when healthy, the Raiders benched Garoppolo after Week 8.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on February 16 that the NFL suspended Garoppolo for violating the league’s performance enhancing substances policy. Schefter wrote that Garoppolo used “a prescribed medication without having a valid therapeutic use exemption from the league.”

Schefter added that the Raiders are expected to release Garoppolo this offseason.

Steelers Connected to Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Just a year ago, Garoppolo was a big free agent signing for the Raiders despite injury concerns. He ended the 2022 season on injured reserve because of a Lisfranc foot injury.

Because of that injury, the Raiders included a waiver in his 3-year, $72 million deal that said he wasn’t owned any money until he passed a physical.

Garoppolo passed his physical and started six of the team’s first eight games. But he struggled, averaging a career-low 7.1 yards per attempt. He also had 9 interceptions versus 7 touchdowns.

The Raiders will avoid paying Garoppolo an $11.25 million roster bonus by releasing him before the fifth day of the new NFL year. His base salary could also be voided because of his suspension.

The suspension could also make Garoppolo a cheap commodity in free agency. But with Garoppolo, the Steelers would be signing a quarterback unavailable for the first two weeks of the season.

Or, they could sign him after his suspension. But, obviously, that’s during the season.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported on February 17 that the Steelers are not interested in signing a quarterback to start in 2024. In a perfect world, the team will re-sign Mason Rudolph to compete with Kenny Pickett.

If the Steelers can’t re-sign Rudolph, there are plenty of other options other than Garoppolo.

Peter King Rips Steelers ‘Not Interested’ in Signing Starting QB

King was more than aware of Dulac’s report when he suggested the Steelers sign Garoppolo to start in 2024.

After his suggestion, King severely criticized the Steelers for their supposed plan behind center.

“Come again?” King wrote in reaction to Dulac’s report. “In a division with Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, the Steelers would actually choose to enter camp with Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph (should he sign in free agency with Pittsburgh)? That sounds like a colossal misjudgment of your quarterback position.”

If the Steelers don’t make a big splash for Justin Fields, Kirk Cousins or Russell Wilson, other NFL insiders are likely to react the same way.

Two years ago, the Seattle Seahawks received severe criticism for entering the season with Geno Smith and Drew Lock as their quarterback. But Smith silenced the doubters, leading the Seahawks to the playoffs.

Like Smith, Rudolph appeared destined for a life as a backup quarterback before December 2023. But maybe he can prove to be a serviceable starter as Smith has the past two seasons.

Of course, the Steelers have to sign Rudolph first.

It also wouldn’t be shocking if Pickett showed significant improvement under a better play caller during his third season.

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