In what seems to be an annual rite of free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers resigned Charlie Batch. One year ago Batch re-upped for one year, this time it was for two. Unlike last year, this move just might shed some insight into what the Steelers brain trust is thinking.
Batch as Back Up, or Third String?
As a back up quarterback, Charlie Batch is thoroughly dependable with the exception of his durability.
Batch broke his collar bone during his first preseason action in 2008. In 2009, after entering for only a handful of plays in the loss to Kansas City, Charlie Batch inexplicably broke his wrist. He also missed the entire 2004 season because of injury.
Dennis Dixon, the Steelers fifth round pick in the 2008 draft, showed good potential when forced to start on short notice in the overtime loss to Baltimore, and this has led to speculation that Dixon will enter the season ahead of Batch on the depth chart. Of course, depending on how Ben’s legal trouble evolve, “ahead” could land Batch at the number three slot, or perhaps it could land him in the number two slot…
No Information on Batch’s Signing Bonus
Reports from ESPN.com, the Post-Gazette, and the Tribune-Review only reveal that Batch resigned for two more years, they say nothing of his signing bonus.
This is an important piece of data, as trade rumors have tied the Steelers to Tampa back up quarterback Bryon Leftwich should Ben’s legal troubles render him unavailable.
If the Steelers did in fact give Batch a healthy signing bonus, that might indicate that they anticipate having Roethlisberger. For the sake of integrity, it is also important to say that if Roethlisberger is unavailable the Steelers would likely enter the year with Dixon, Batch and Leftwich, or whoever else they might decide to bring in.
Either way at the moment the Steelers are not keeping an extra roster spot open in anticipation of bringing in an additional quarterback. That of course could change….