Recent sagas involving Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown might have been clues. Their failure to make the playoffs last year for the first time since 2013 was perhaps another hint.
But the Pittsburgh Steelers now have their clearest indication yet that it's time to start fresh.
The team's 37-year-old quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is out for the rest of the 2019 season because of a shoulder injury. And although the Steelers gave Big Ben a two-year contract extension this past offseason, that sunk cost should already be considered a mistake.
The Steelers should spend the remainder of this likely doomed season evaluating their roster with 2020 and beyond in mind. Soon after that, they should strongly consider parting ways with both Roethlisberger and longtime head coach Mike Tomlin.
Understudy Mason Rudolph outplayed Roethlisberger when the young backup replaced the 16-year veteran against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. In that game as well as Pittsburgh's dull season-opening loss to the New England Patriots, Big Ben struggled mightily.