Ben Roethlisberger
It’s time for the Steelers for think about life after Ben Roethlisberger (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019-2020 season is officially over. If starting out 0-2 wasn’t awful enough, now their franchise quarterback will miss the remainder of the season. Ben Roethlisberger is set to undergo elbow surgery and will miss the rest of the season. It’s possible that he even misses more time. Tommy John surgery is apparently still on the table. YIKES!

That leaves one thing to talk about. It’s time for the Steelers to start thinking about life after Ben Roethlisberger. The problem is by the time the Steelers act, it’s probably going to be too late. The Steelers will have to ride with Mason Rudolph in the mean time before the Steelers find their next franchise quarterback.

If Roethlisberger does undergo TJ surgery, he’s going to miss a year and a half. That’s basically all of 2020-2021 too. Roethlisberger, 37, is already a guy that has thought about retirement in the past. He’s not getting any younger either. Big Ben has had injury problems in the past. Despite being a big quarterback, he’s taken a lot of shots in his career. Without the elbow injury, it was probably time to start looking for a new quarterback. After the injury, the Steelers have no choice. It’s fair to wonder what Big Ben will look like when he comes back too. Non-contact injuries are always more concerning.

Mason Rudolph will get his shot now. I wasn’t a big fan of Rudolph coming out of the draft. He looks like Bryce Petty’s brother. He’s a classic Big 12 quarterback. Not the good ones either. Rudolph put up big numbers at Oklahoma State but profiles as more of a backup. Rudolph threw a horrible interception to give the game away. At least the Steelers will get to see what they have moving forward.

The crazy part is that Pittsburgh has an outside shot at the playoffs. The Ravens are not a good football team. Congrats on beating the Cardinals and Dolphins both teams will have the number one pick in back to back years. Those wins mean nothing. The Browns are a total mess. That seems like a car wreck waiting to happen. The Bengals? Well, no need to waste words on them. What if the Steelers turn it around? Unlikely, but not impossible.

It wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Steelers to tank. Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jake Fromm are consensus first round picks. Pittsburgh could be in a position to take one of them. If not, they may need to trade up for one. It’s still early. Maybe another name will emerge as a first round guy.

Contractually, Pittsburgh owes Roethlisberger $16 million in 2020 and $14 million in 2021. That’s a lot of money still owed to Big Ben. Having a quarterback on a rookie deal becomes a must. Either way, If Big Ben does come back, the Steelers can’t risk this kind of injury again. The Steelers need to start hunting for a quarterback now. Life after Ben Roethlisberger is here sooner than we all thought.