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Steelers remain comfortable with their current Big Ben backup plan

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert joins Mike Florio to discuss the life of head coach Don Shula, the Steelers' draft experience and expectations for the 2020 season.

With quarterback Cam Newton reportedly willing to serve as a backup in 2020, there’s an increasing chorus of folks advocating for the Steelers to sign Newton to be the understudy to Ben Roethlisberger. Earlier this week on #PFTPM, Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert made it clear -- if it wasn’t already -- that the Steelers are standing pat with who they have.

“When you look back at the history of Ben, when Ben was young and ascending, we had veteran quarterbacks behind him,” Colbert said. “When he became that veteran, we always had a younger drafted player behind him. That’s by design, because you’re always trying to develop guys as Ben moves into the later stage of his career. Maybe you’re developing the next one, you never know that.

“Landry Jones developed into a nice backup. Joshua Dobbs did. Mason [Rudolph] did last year. We’re comfortable with Mason Rudolph as a backup and Devlin Hodges in the mix. Between the two of them, they were 8-6 last year. You get into a backup quarterback situation, 8-6 is not 14-0 but there’s some comfort in knowing that they can get you through the hopefully nonexistent spell that may occur if your quarterback gets injured.”

A major factor in this regard is money, especially with Roethlisberger among the highest-paid starters and Newton surely unwilling to be one of the lowest-paid backups.

“Lot of times when we get into salary cap management and you have significant dollars in your starter, it’s hard to put a lot of dollars in your backup,” Colbert said. “We’re very comfortable knowing if need be Mason and Devlin and/or Devlin and Mason and even Paxton Lynch, who’s got number one talent. We’ll see what we got, but we’re comfortable with that right now.”

So it won’t be Cam in Pittsburgh for now. And it may not even be Cam if Ben were to exit for the season in Week Two, like he did in 2019.