The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a new quarterback in 2022, but it won't be Deshaun Watson. Pittsburgh is not interested in pursuing the Houston Texans quarterback, per CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to be in pursuit of Watson, as La Canfora says plenty of people in the organization would aggressively pursue him.
Watson will not face criminal charges on nine complaints alleging sexual misconduct in massage sessions, a grand jury in Harris Country, Texas, determined Friday.
Watson did not play a single snap during the 2021 season, as he was placed on the Texans' injury report throughout the year. Prior to the allegations, Watson had requested a trade from Houston over frustration with ownership. Lovie Smith, who served as Houston's defensive coordinator last season before being promoted to head coach this offseason, has not revealed whether or not the team will keep Watson.
"I don't really know Deshaun that way since he wasn't really involved last year," Smith said. "Time takes care of a lot of things and time will take care of that situation too, with a favorable situation for Deshaun and us."
The Buccaneers have Kyle Trask in line to succeed the recently retired Tom Brady, as Blaine Gabbert is currently a free agent. Their pursuit of Watson keeps the championship window open if they are able to acquire the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
While they won't be pursuing Watson, the Steelers will acquire a quarterback during either free agency or during the 2022 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh will hold an open quarterback competition this offseason between Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and either a rookie or a veteran acquisition. Possible free agent options include Mitchell Trubisky, Teddy Bridgewater, and Marcus Mariota.
With the 20th overall pick, the Steelers could be in position to select one of the draft's top quarterback prospects if one of them falls to the back-half of the first round. Many Pittsburgh fans would like to see the team select former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting last fall while leading the Panthers to an ACC title.