Webster’s almost certainly does not have a definition* of “take a flyer on a player” but if it did it would likely read something like this:
Take a Flyer on a Player: When a team enters into a no, or low-risk relationship with player who has not lived up to his or her expectations or pedigree.
The Steelers are no strangers to taking flyers on players. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Gilbert are two recent successful and unsuccessful examples.
Under Kevin Colbert the Steelers have taken flyers many quarterbacks, Tommy Maddox, Charlie Batch, Brian Hoyer and Paxton Lynch come to mind.
Maddox became a starter who unseated a team MVP and led a dramatic playoff comeback. Batch became the best and most beloved backup in franchise history. Hoyer got away but did well enough elsewhere. Few even remember Lynch ever did clipboard duty in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers took a flyer on former first round pick Dwayne Haskins. So which category he find himself in?
Capsule Profile of Dwayne Haskins Career with the Steelers
Officially, Dwayne Haskins Steelers career consists of holding a clipboard on the sidelines in street clothes – and he may not even held a clipboard. He dressed for the Steelers tie against Detroit as Mason Rudolph started while Ben Roethlisberger sat on the COVID list, but in Pittsburgh he’s never appeared in a regular season game.
- Haskins did fully participate in off season activities and preseason for the Steelers in 2021.
Word was that he looked good in training camp, and he played well enough during the team’s first three preseason games to spark speculation that he could unseat Rudolph as the backup quarterback. Yet, Haskins started the final preseason game and he looked lost.
The Case for the Steelers Resigning Dwayne Haskins
As a restricted free agent, the Steeler can protect their rights to Dwayne Haskins by making a minimum original round tender for 2.5 million dollars. There’s little risk involved. No one will sacrifice a first round pick for Haskins and the Steelers can pull their offer.
If Haskins’ time in Washington clearly shows he lacked the maturity to lead an NFL team, he does have raw athletic talent. He’s been in the Steelers system for a year, the team has seen him work day in and day out and has a far better vantage point of his work habits and professional growth than anyone else.
Bringing Haskins back is all upside and almost no risk for the Steelers.
The Case Against the Steelers Resigning Haskins
The stars were aligned for Dwyane Haskins last summer and he blew it.
This former first rounder looked good beating up on second line players in preseason, but when it was showtime he blinked. And while Haskins has kept his nose clean, he’s still been associated with some strange news stories. That begs the question:
- Can he handle success should he find away to unlock his potential?
Moreover, he’s going to cost the Steelers 2.5 million dollars. The Steelers have more salary cap space than they’re accustomed to, but do they really want to spend that on much on Haskins?
Curtain’s Call on the Steelers and Dwayne Haskins
Kevin Colbert basically confirmed that the Steelers would offering an original round tender on Dwayne Haskins so there’s no suspense here. The only question is whether this is a wise move or not.
- It is a wise move.
Both the positive buzz and negative buzz kill that bookended Haskins’ 2021 preseason were exaggerations. Haskins played well, but hardly lights out in relief of the starters. Then, he played piss poorly in his lone start against the Panthers.
- Sure, that’s a bright yellow flag, but hardly a reason to abandon Haskins.
And just because Haskins might not develop into a viable franchise quarterback and/or starter for the Steelers, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t develop into a quality backup.
*Actually, if you Google “take a flyer”/’take a flier” you’ll see that in finance its a move that’s high risk/high reward.
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