Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is under contract through the 2021 season, and he has no intention of hanging up the cleats before then. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the 38-year-old signal-caller will be back in 2021.
When Big Ben signed his latest deal in April 2019, Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert indicated it would likely be the franchise icon’s last contract with the Steelers. But Colbert later walked back those comments a bit, and owner Art Rooney II said he is open to another Roethlisberger extension that would take him into his age-40 season (and perhaps beyond).
Though Roethlisberger clearly has lost some arm strength and is averaging 6.3 yards per pass attempt — which would be a career-low for a season in which he has played more than two games — he remains one of the most accurate passers in the league and has thrown 29 TDs against just nine interceptions. All told, that amounts to a 94.9 QB rating, and his play is a big reason why the 11-2 Steelers are on the verge of an AFC North title.
A recent report indicated that the organization is concerned about Roethlisberger’s lingering knee injury and his increasing reliance on the short passing game, but Pittsburgh still profiles as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. And while Schefter says the campaign has indeed taken a physical toll on Roethlisberger, sources close to the quarterback say he is having too much fun and likes the team too much to retire at the end of the season.
Due to a contract restructure in March, Roethlisberger is set to have a gargantuan cap hit of $41.25MM in 2021. Even if the salary cap does not drop at all, one would think that another extension or some other type of kick-the-can-down-the-road machination would be in play in order to keep the rest of the roster as stocked as possible. There will still be some difficult decisions to make, but the Steelers will doubtlessly be happy to have their two-time Super Bowl champion back next season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.