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Rumor: Steelers could target Sam Darnold as Ben Roethlisberger’s future replacement

Steelers, Sam Darnold, Ben Roethlisberger

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have one final run with veteran gunslinger Ben Roethlisberger, but they still have to identify their quarterback of the future in the years to come. An emerging name in speculations is New York Jets playmaker Sam Darnold, whose future remains uncertain leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft.

Via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated:

“As for where Darnold could wind up next? I’d keep an eye on Carolina and Pittsburgh. Darnold would represent a worthy, and affordable, dart to throw at the quarterback board if the Panthers are convinced the quarterbacks they’d want will be gone by the time they pick at wight (and Atlanta having the fourth pick doesn’t help them). As for the Steelers, if the price is right they could see some similarities in how Darnold plays to how their own quarterback did in his early 20s, and throw Darnold in there to compete with Dwayne Haskins to be Ben Roethlisberger’s heir. Washington and Denver have also come up as possible landing spots, though I know each had some misgivings on his tape.”

Darnold previously concluded his 2020 campaign with tallies of 2,208 passing yards on 217 completions and nine touchdowns through 12 appearances. His level of production wasn’t enough to power his squad as they still settled for a lowly 2-14 record last season.

The former USC standout is heading to the final two seasons of his five-year rookie contract before he enters unrestricted free agency in 2023, though there are rumors out there suggesting any team that trades for him won’t pick up his fifth-year option. New York currently has the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft, and there’s plenty of smoke suggesting Zach Wilson will be the pick. There have been trade winds swirling around Darnold for some time.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have some insurance at the quarterback position after signing Dwayne Haskins to a one-year following his tumultuous stint with the Washington Football Team. Mason Rudolph is also still in place as a backup.

Regardless of the player, the Steelers will definitely have to get the right talent in order to ensure they remain strong contenders for the title once they enter the post-Ben Roethlisberger era in the near future.