The Pittsburgh Steelers are stumbling to the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era. The longtime franchise QB will likely retire after this season, which is for the best as he has looked every bit the part of a 38-year-old signal-caller with a lengthy injury history. Pittsburgh still has a shot at the playoffs even after getting spanked by the Kansas City Chiefs this past Sunday, but they are far from a championship contender. And because the front office bizarrely refused to invest any serious resources at quarterback for the post-Roethlisberger era, the Steelers do not have anything resembling a backup plan for his imminent departure.
While it is obviously not as easy as Tannebaum makes it sound, it is actually more realistic than you may think. The latest reports suggests Rodgers will force his way out of Green Bay this offseason even if they win the big one, which feels crazy but the whole saga has been the definition of crazy so who would be surprised? Adams is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and his whole "Last Dance" thing before the season suggested his fate is tied to Rodgers'.
As of now, Pittsburgh will have around $43 million in cap space this offseason. With some maneuvering, they could probably add another $10 million to that. As long as both Rodgers and Adams are willing to structure their contracts to make it manageable for the Steelers, it could work financially.
The most obvious problem is that the Packers could really easily franchise Adams and refuse to let him leave. It makes sense for Green Bay to send Rodgers to Pittsburgh as long as they're willing to pony up an appropriate haul. The Steelers are out of the conference and will have the worst negotiating position so the Packers can feel good about avoiding Rodgers as much as possible while making out like bandits. There is no similar motivation to letting Adams leave with Rodgers. The All-Pro wideout is one of the NFL's very best receivers and is only 27 years-old. Green Bay definitely wouldn't let him leave for nothing, and it feels very unlikely the Steelers would have enough assets to trade for both Adams and Rodgers if the Packers tagged Adams to hold him hostage.
But this would definitely work for Pittsburgh! Ditch the aging franchise quarterback and replace him with a perennial MVP candidate and a top-three receiver. Easy peasy.