Five teams drafted a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft. The Jaguars, Jets, 49ers, Bears, and Patriots all selected a quarterback they hope can be the next face of their franchise. With rookie mini-camp now out of the way, there’s about a month left until training camp. Though these teams aren’t expected to be instantly good, they’re viewed through an optimistic lens when discussing their futures. But some teams headed into the 2021 season have a massive elephant in the room to address.

Ben Roethlisberger jogging off the field

The Steelers, Dolphins, Saints, Texans, Giants, and Broncos have a big decision to make at quarterback at the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season. Teams such as the Lions, Packers, and Eagles could be thrown into this group, but I don’t think they qualify for various reasons.

The Lions had a chance to draft Jared Goff’s replacement, but they took a tackle. So the Lions somewhat believe in Jared Goff. If the Packers fix their relationship with Aaron Rodgers, obviously, you move forward with him. But as of now, there’s just a lot of unknowns.

The same goes for the Eagles and their quarterback Jalen Hurts. If anything was made clear by the Eagles off-season, it’s that they were an absolute mess in 2020. It would be unfair to write off Jalen Hurts, given the shaky infrastructure.

As for the other teams I mentioned, their rosters are simply too good to not address quarterback this off-season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger, 39, is likely entering his final season. It’s well documented that Ben has flirted with the idea of retirement in the past, but it appears that this is it. The problem for the Steelers is that once Ben does retire, they don’t have a succession plan. Their two backups are Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph. Neither of which spark excitement as it pertains to the Steeler’s future.

Dwayne Haskins at Steelers practice

Between the two, it is Dwayne Haskins who has the bigger upside. Though not very mobile, he has a much bigger arm than Rudolph and was better in college. After flaming out as quickly and in the fashion he did with the Washington Football Team, it was a surprise to see the Steelers sign him. But if there’s any head coach that could humble and fix him, it’s Mike Tomlin.

Given the defense that the Steelers have, they’ll want to address the holes in their offense as soon as possible. The likelihood of them drafting high isn’t very good, but there’s always a move to be made.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins being on this list probably confuses some. After all, they just drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick a year ago. But after a lackluster rookie season, the clock is (or shall I say, should) already be ticking on Tua.

The Dolphins have an outstanding roster and coaching staff. Not to mention the AFC East is as open as it’s ever been. Following his roller-coaster rookie year, Tua admitted that he didn’t have a good grasp on the playbook. Calling his rookie season “below average.” Though it’s expected that rookie quarterbacks will struggle at one point or another, it doesn’t help Tua’s case that Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert showed a seamless transition to the NFL’s speed.

This off-season, Tua has been working on having a more ‘aggressive mindset’ as opposed to the cautious play-style he demonstrated last season. But if Tua doesn’t take a huge leap from year one to two, the Dolphins might look to make a move.

New Orleans Saints

When Drew Brees retired, the Saints were in an interesting situation. They had already extended Taysom Hill and even watched him start four games, going 3-1 in that stretch. Yet, they resigned Jameis Winston and have them ‘battling’ for the starting spot. More than likely, Jameis will start for the Saints, and given their loaded roster, should perform very well. However, given that Jameis re-signed a one-year deal, the Saints have a decision to make in the off-season.

The Saints have been pressed up against the salary cap for a few years now. So whether or not they can even resign Jameis or Hill is a real question to be asked. Not to mention the Saints as a team are simply too good to be drafting high.

Nonetheless, the Saints have a great roster, have shown to draft well, and can’t afford to be stuck without a quarterback. If Jameis and Hill don’t prove to be the guy, the Saints must make a move.

Houston Texans

Once Deshaun Watson’s legal issues hit the headlines, it was easy to forget why his name originally made news in the first place. Once the 2020 NFL season ended, Deshaun Watson made it known that he no longer wanted to play for the Texans. Citing that the Texans kept him out of the loop in some of the decision-making when they had explicitly told him he’d be involved. Not long after that news broke, allegation after allegation involving sexual assault came out against Watson. Making his availability for the upcoming season unknown.

Whether Watson can play or not, the Texans still have to figure out their quarterback situation. The Texans have held firm that they won’t trade Watson, but seeing as though Watson (reportedly) won’t return to the team under any circumstances, they may have no choice. Without Watson, they’re the odds on favorite for the number one overall pick. It might be worth it for the Texans to reboot the franchise following the 2021 NFL season.

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos have one of the best rosters in the NFL, and it’s being wasted by horrible quarterback play. They recently made a trade for Teddy Bridgewater, but no one thinks that fixes all their issues. There’s a real quarterback competition going on right now in Denver, but no matter who wins, the fan base still loses.

Since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have had nine different starting quarterbacks. Some, like Paxton Lynch, were drafted, while others, like Case Keenum, were signed in free agency. No matter how you shake it, the Broncos have been a disaster at quarterback, and it needs to be fixed soon.

Teddy Bridgewater is who he is, and this is probably Drew Lock’s last chance to be a starter. Denver must be smart this coming off-season.

The Giants

Daniel Jones is one of the most intriguing young quarterbacks in the game. He’s mobile and a nice arm, but he also has a terrible fumble problem. In his first two NFL seasons, Jones has 29 total fumbles, with 17 lost. The coaching staff and organization love Daniel Jones but can’t win with him if he doesn’t fix this glaring issue. On top of that, their current head coach only inherited Jones, meaning that it would be even easier to wipe their hands clean and start over.

The Giants are another team that has an immensely talented roster. Their receiving core goes four deep, they get Saquon Barkley back, have two solid tight-ends, and their defense is legit. The moves the Giants made in free agency and the draft has put Daniel Jones on notice.

Follow me on Twitter @KENDRlCKS and check out more NFL related articles by the Belly Up Sports team.

About Author

Kendrick Lindsay

Growing up in a single-parent household came with its perks and downsides. Perk, I became very close to my mother. The downside, she wasn't a sports watcher. It wasn't until I was 15 years old that I was introduced to the world of sports/sports media. That's when I truly fell in love with it all. And it wasn't the X's and O's that won me over, it was the deep-rooted stories of the business, the athletes, and the ever so changing nature of sports that intrigued me. As a recent college graduate and Communications major, I hope to put my imprint on the sports media world.

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