Saints QB Jameis Winston trade to Pittsburgh Steelers?
By: Jake Rajala
The Pittsburgh Steelers are headed into the 2021 season with the 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger under the helm. Big Ben has some gas in the tank and he will be fielding a talented roster next season, but it appears more than likely that Ben will retire after the 2021 season.
Ben is a hero in Pittsburgh, he has full control of the offense, and he has some arm talent remaining. Nonetheless, Ben’s prime is already behind him. The Steelers long-time QB was 16th in passing yards last season, 20th in completion percentage, and 22nd in QBR last year.
Ben should be a competitive QB in 2021, which is most likely his last hoorah as a Steeler, but the team will need to obtain the new starting QB after this upcoming season. Instead of aiming to grab a QB in free agency next year, or draft a third, fourth, or fifth-ranked QB prospect, the Steelers should make a smart trade for a future QB prospect now.
I believe the perfect QB trade candidate for the Steelers is Saints QB Jameis Winston. The former first overall pick was heavily rumored to be on the Steelers radar this offseason, but he opted to resign with Sean Payton’s arsenal. Even though Winston is on the Saints, I believe the Steelers should be aggressive with acquiring the big-armed QB. Here is why the Steelers should make an exchange for Winston.
- Winston has lots of potential at 27 years old
The Saints QB competing for the starting gig is a mere 27 years old. Winston still provides not only a lot of talent and drive, but years of potential to grow. The Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner was 28 years old when he had a breakout season with St. Louis Rams in 1999. Experience is a very underrated component with QBs in today’s league, especially when they have the talent and self-determination. Nick Foles, who was given a new slate and opportunity last year, was 31 years old (four years older than Winston). Andy Dalton, who is arguably being tasked with cleaning up Foles’s mess in the short term, is six years older than Winston.
- Winston could re-sign with Saints
Jameis Winston will compete for the starting QB gig in New Orleans with Taysom Hill. It’s not clear if Winston will be under center in Week 1, but if he starts and unveils a successful season, it’s inevitable that he will be a Saint long term. If not re-signed, he would be an obvious franchise tag candidate for the Saints. The best time to get Winston’s “prove it season” is before he potentially takes the field with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Sean Payton calling the shots.
- Steelers carry a “win now” roster
Assuming Big Ben retires after this season, the Steelers will still have a talented roster at many spots on the team. The defense will be an elite unit, the WR group will be one of the best in the league, and the coach will still be the legendary Mike Tomlin. Yet, the Steelers will have all of the robust pieces surrounding uncertainty at the QB spot.
The Steelers could maximize the roster quality and shorter Super Bowl window by already boasting a younger, yet experienced and talented QB in Winston. If the Steelers roll with a non-elite rookie QB in 2022, it would be an extremely improbable chance of reaching the SB in the near future.
An underrated factor of having Winston is that there’s a chance father time catches up to Big Ben in this very upcoming season. We’ve seen Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Drew Brees’s performance take a steep decline in their last season/games of the competition. Winston might be able to provide a spark if Big Ben slows down mightily before the season comes to an end.