Do The Steelers Really Want Ben Roethlisberger Back In 2021?

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Ben Roethlisberger has been the starter at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers since he was 22 years old.

Now at 38, the veteran quarterback’s future with the black and gold remains in doubt as he enters the final year of his massive two-year contract worth $68 million.

Despite major elbow surgery that forced him to miss all but a game and a half in 2019, Roethlisberger played well for most of 2020. The team was stacking wins, and the quarterback was looking like his old self.

Then, the month of December hit, and the bottom dropped out. After the NFL shifted the Steelers’ schedule like a game of musical chairs, the team barely beat a Baltimore Ravens team missing a ton of players due to the COVID-19 virus.

Five days later, the team hosted the Washington Football Team. Though the Steelers built a 14-3 lead, the offense and team as a whole went stale, and eventually Washington pulled out a gutsy 23-17 win, sending the Steelers to 11-1.

Pittsburgh struggled on offense for the remainder of the season. They lost four of their last five games, including an embarrassing road Monday night loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, who were without Joe Burrow.

After an awful playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, the whispers about Big Ben’s future grew louder. While all sides are saying the right things now, there are still plenty of questions about whether he’ll even be in the Steel City in 2021.

The contract that Roethlisberger is due and his issues late in the season have caused many to think that it’s time for the Steelers to make a change. Some feel that the pickup of former Washington first-round pick Dwayne Haskins two weeks back is an indication that the Steelers are ready to move on from the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

One Pittsburgh reporter who has about seen it all over the years in Pittsburgh is Ed Bouchette of The Athletic. On Tuesday, Bouchette stated on 93.7 The Fan that, no matter what he says, Roethlisberger isn’t going to play in 2021 at a reduced salary.

“He said he didn’t care about his salary, but I don’t believe that for a minute,” Bouchette told the radio station.

“They’re going to have to pay him where he’s not going to be embarrassed to come back and play. And I just don’t know if this is all going to work out. I’ve been told it still might not.”

If the Steelers can find a way to get a top of the line starter and not have to pay him the massive salary that Ben is due in 2021 (base salary of $4,000,000 and a roster bonus of $15,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $41,250,000 and a dead cap value of $22,250,000), then it might be in their best interest to move on now. If they don’t, they will be limbo again for a year since Roethlisberger will be a free agent after the season.

Roethlisberger is due a $15 million roster bonus on March 17th, so expect something big to come down the pike before then.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


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  1. Ehh. I shake my head at the talking heads who clearly don’t watch the Steelers games then want to act like Ben is bottom tier QB in the league.

    The reality is he’s still better than about half of the starters in the league right now and played that way for most of the season.

    The entire season on third or fourth and 1 and we had to run for a yard we got stuffed. Worst run game in the league.

    The cap hit sucks but it’s $22M dead money if he retires or $41M if he plays.

  2. They have to move on from Ben. With Watt’s contract as well as Minka and others coming up and no O-line to speak of nor running game, why have him back? The Steelers organization forced Troy and Hines to retire I feel as if they have to do the same thing with Ben.

    The Steelers schedule next year is going to be way harder than this past year. That coupled with the way the team finished even with Ben you are going to be 8-8 at best. Tomlin will finally have to prove he can go out and get his own guy and win with him. If Rudolph is any preview to the QB’s they are selecting in the draft we are in for a long stretch of continued mediocrity for the black and gold.

  3. If Ben doesn’t retire in the next month or so, he’ll play his final season next year and they better get a qb in the draft. Rudolph and Haskins ain’t the future. Signing Haskins was a retarded move.

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