Ben Roethlisberger Expected to Return in Pittsburgh for 18th Season
The Pittsburgh Steelers got out to an 11-0 record in 2020, only to lose five of their next six games. The Steelers were stunned by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the playoffs losing to the Browns 48-37 at home. Following the game veterans, Ben Roethlisberger and his long-time center Maurkice Pouncey sat down on the bench and took things in.
Roethlisberger and Pouncey were noticeably disappointed and the NFL film cameras caught what exactly the quarterback said. “I’m sorry, brother,” Roethlisberger told Pouncey. “You’re the only reason I wanted to do this, man. Oh, I feel worse for you than me. I hate it, man.”
The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers season was officially over and for those two veterans, their futures were in doubt. Pouncey recently retired from the NFL, but reports are saying that Ben Roethlisberger is expected to Return as the Steelers quarterback for the 2021 season.
Steelers President Comments on Roethlisberger’s Future
For some time it has been wondered if the Steelers were looking for a new quarterback, but Steelers President Art Rooney II envisions number seven taking snaps once again for Pittsburgh. Rooney II released a statement on Twitter following a meeting with “Big Ben”.
“Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting,” Rooney II said. “We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go.
Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship. We both understand that the next step is to workout Ben’s contract situation.”
At age 38, Roethlisberger enters the final year of his contract in 2021 with a salary cap hit of $41.2 million. With Ben Roethlisberger expected to Return to Pittsburgh, he will need to help them keep top free agents such as offensive weapons wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner, along with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, Roethlisberger will need to restructure his deal.
Big Ben’s Legacy in Pittsburgh
Roethlisberger is without question an All-Time great Pittsburgh Steeler. Roethlisberger is not only a two-time Super Bowl champion in Pittsburgh he also is a six-time Pro Bowler. Roethlisberger has been the starting quarterback for Pittsburgh for the last seventeen years and seeing anybody but number seven taking snaps would be very different for Steelers fans.
In year 17, Roethlisberger passed for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions on his way to leading the Steelers to the playoffs. Although Roethlisberger is old, he proved in 2020 that he could stay on the field and produce at a high level.
The 2021 NFL free agency class is headlined by quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott is expected to return to Dallas crossing his name off of Pittsburgh’s wish list.
When looking at other free agent quarterbacks such as Jacoby Brissett, Mitchell Trubisky, and Andy Dalton it appears that free agency is not the route to go to upgrade from Roethlisberger.
Steelers’ backup quarterback Mason Rudolph has not performed exceptionally well in the absence of Roethlisberger meaning the only area Pittsburgh can upgrade from Roethlisberger is in the NFL draft. Pittsburgh is a far too talented team to be drafting a quarterback early in this upcoming draft.
Pittsburgh should run things back with Roethlisberger in 2021 with a small pay cut in hopes of winning a seventh Super Bowl. A pay cut is important if Roethlisberger wants to win because the team has free agents at key positions and they cannot afford to lose them all.