Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review
The Steelers head into the offseason with 18 unrestricted free agents and six restricted free agents. We will take a look at each individual player up until free agency starts on March 12.
Name: Charlie Batch
Contract status: Free agent
Quarterbacks on the current roster: Ben Roethlisberger
Free agent quarterbacks: Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich
2011 season: Charlie Batch was forced to start a pair of division games – Cleveland and Baltimore – because of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich. Batch was good in one and bad in the other. Batch completed 25-of-34 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown in helping the Steelers to an upset win over division champion Baltimore Ravens. Batch didn’t play as well in his start against Cleveland when he threw three interceptions, was visibly rusty and the Steelers turned the ball over eight times in a loss at Cleveland but showed, at 38, that he can still be a viable backup quarterback in the NFL.
What about this: In Batch’s two starts, he completed 68.8 percent of his passes when he was under pressure and only 63 percent when he wasn’t under pressure.
What the Steelers should do with Batch: Batch showed that he can be a valuable commodity especially in short-term use, and the Steelers felt the same way. Batch was elevated to the No. 2 quarterback for the final three games of the season even when Leftwich returned from his rib injury acknowledging that the Steelers’ coaching staff was comfortable with how Batch played in his opportunities. The Steelers need to have at least one younger quarterback on the roster meaning either Leftwich or Batch must go. You can’t go wrong by keeping either one, but Batch showed that he can get the job done on a more consistent basis over the past three years.
What the Steelers will do with Batch: A veteran backup quarterback isn’t a top priority of the Steelers heading into free agency because they would be happy to have either Leftwich or Batch back backing up Roethlisberger. The Steelers will be in no hurry to re-sign any of their backup quarterbacks just like they have rushed in years past so the Steelers will probably wait until deep into free agency once again, but will bring Batch back on a one-year veteran minimum salary.
* Age at start of 2013 season