Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent Spotlight: Donovan McNabb

By Curt Popejoy
Donovan McNabb
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the market for a backup quarterback. While they did draft quarterback Landry Jones from the University of Oklahoma, the previous two backup quarterbacks, Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, are not under contract for the upcoming season and the only other quarterbacks currently on the roster are Bruce Gradkowski and John Parker Wilson to back up incumbent-starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

And with that, I am not exactly inspired for the depth this upcoming NFL season. The most reasonable scenario is that either Gradkowski or Parker Wilson wins the backup job, relegating Jones to third string and the team moves forward with that, and we all keep our fingers crossed that Roethlisberger stays healthy. The next most likely scenario probably involves neither Gradkowski or Parker Wilson winning the job and the Steelers instead go back to the well and sign either Leftwich or Batch who will almost certainly be still out of work.

But I would propose a third scenario. The Steelers should consider signing free agent quarterback Donovan McNabb. I’m sure Steelers fans are moaning and groaning at the very thought of it, but there’s sound logic to it. Looking at the list of available quarterbacks compared to what the Steelers need; an experienced veteran who will come cheap, McNabb is the top of the list. I admit McNabb doesn’t have the skill set that he did in the past, but it’s impossible to replace his level of experience and leadership with a young player. There will be no expectation of him to win a starting job by him or the franchise, so there are no chemistry issues. For Jones, could there be a better pair of mentors for him to learn under than Roethlisberger and McNabb?

All Steelers fans saw just how bad a season can go without proper depth at quarterback. I don’t expect 2009 McNabb. But when you consider the alternatives, I’ll take an 80% McNabb over anyone else on the market. I have no ill will toward McNabb. The bottom line is, I want the Steelers to win. If by chance Roethlisberger gets hurt again this year, I’ll take my chances with McNabb over anyone else they have right now.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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