Steelers Want Ben Roethlisberger Back

8:25pm: Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that Tollner’s statment was accurate and that Rooney has indeed told Big Ben that he wants him back in 2021. Rooney is expected to make a statement to that effect tomorrow.

5:39pm: After Kevin Colbert made comments that put Ben Roethlisberger‘s status with the 2021 Steelers on shaky ground, the future Hall of Fame quarterback has now met with Steelers owner Art Rooney II. That meeting may have gone quite well.

The Steelers want Roethlisberger to return for the ’21 season, according to his agent, Ryan Tollner. Tollner indicated the team has the 17-year veteran in its plans and will contact him soon regarding the QB’s new cap arrangement, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (on Twitter). Roethlisberger is set to count more than $41MM against Pittsburgh’s 2021 cap.

It would seem Big Ben’s cap number would need to be addressed before most of the Steelers’ other matters, which do not involve numbers that big. No player’s 2021 cap number surpasses Roethlisberger’s, and it cannot be reduced below $23MM. The Steelers are currently $19MM over the projected 2021 cap, though they have been making moves to get under it. Roethlisberger’s contract represents the top domino in this process.

Although Big Ben threw 33 touchdown passes — his second-most as a pro — he finished 22nd in Total QBR during a Steelers season that tailed off down the stretch. Roethlisberger wrapped his 2020 campaign with a four-interception playoff game but did make a successful return after a severe elbow injury that ended his 2019 season early.

Roethlisberger will turn 39 next week, but the Steelers have yet to make a true investment in Roethlisberger’s long-term successor. And their 12-4 record puts them in the back half of the first round. A Ben return would help stabilize the team’s QB situation for at least one more season.

Fond of restructuring contracts, the Steelers have gotten to work on this front by redoing Cameron Heyward‘s deal. With the cap expected to drop from $198MM to near the $180MM mark, more such moves will need to be made. The Steelers are not expected to use their franchise tag to retain either Bud Dupree or JuJu Smith-Schuster, and other free agents like Mike Hilton, Alejandro Villanueva and James Conner may well depart. Roethlisberger may return for an 18th season, but the Steelers figure to look considerably different after this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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14 comments on “Steelers Want Ben Roethlisberger Back

  1. arty!

    Hall of Fame run, Ben. Kept the Steelers legacy going into a new century. As a fan of the game, thanks for the memories!

    I still love that backwards tackle on a Colt in the playoffs. Always the oddest of plays that standout. Pitt was the 6th seed & went on to win it that year w/ the Bus!

    • mario crosby

      Memories don’t win. Talented players in their prime win. Settling for mediocrity will delay the Steelers rebuild. And yes the Steelers need a rebuild. Don’t whine when Ben leads the Steelers to a 7-9 record.

  2. forwhomjoshbelltolled

    For the record, much of Ben’s “decline” last year was due to injury. He clearly couldn’t put weight on his knee and throw the ball with any zip. He was playing well before that.

    But further for the record, he’s old and not as in shape as other older QB’s and there is no reason to think he’ll stay healthy.

    Also for the record, even if he did stay healthy, he still doesn’t process information any quicker than he used to and still has Favre Disease where he thinks he can make any throw and he’s near certain to always throw the killer interception.

    • luvthedayankees74

      Bro you hit that right on the nail that he was injured but no one wants to talk about how we played three games in 12 days and for 38 your quarterback to get hit in those games it takes a toll on the body and not having the right amount of time to rest when you’re that age bones and joints start to ache real bad and don’t heal as fast as these young boys believe me I know I’m 47 and I’m still athletic rather play I’m in pain

    • DarkSide830

      its your second point thats key. sure he was injured but if people dont expect it to fully return to normal then the problem is still there.

    • Ak185

      The last part of your statement is extremely flawed. Making quick decisions at the quarterback position was the foundational building block of the Steelers’ entire offense this year. It was that single-sidedness that made them vulnerable and eventually dismantled all of their momentum.

      They asked a quarterback coming off surgery to throw under 2.5 seconds 40 or more times a game. That manifests stat-wise as poor YPA and YPC, which helps in determining QB rating, and limits the guesswork for the defense. Any QB shouldn’t be doing that regularly, let alone a near 40 year old coming off major surgery. If you know that the QB will throw, the must do it quickly to avoid his protection breaking down, and that he cannot completely trust his receivers to make tough catches, it makes it pretty easy to sit on certain routes as a defense. You don’t really have to worry about the run because backs get stuffed at the line of scrimmage, and you don’t have to worry about a deep ball because their offensive line can’t pass protect.

      It’s actually a wonder that Ben didn’t throw more interceptions. Reading the defense and making quick throws are the reason that the Steelers got any scoring at all.

  3. leefieux

    Crap….was hoping he’d ride off into the sunset and let the rebuild start in earnest. Even with BB coming back, the Steelers are an average team at best. Too many holes, esp on the Oline.

  4. nentwigs

    Actually the meeting didn’t go all that great when you consider that Big Ben ACTUALLY met with………
    Art Carney and Mickey Rooney,
    NOT Art Rooney II.

  5. jawn

    Why? Ben is completely washed. Looks like Steelers are preemptively tanking.

    • Ak185

      To buy time before having to pick a new QB-they have a lot of players who need replacing now or WILL need to in a year’s time. Putting off the QB search gives them a year to and try and address some of the other positions first.

  6. Very Barry

    It is time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to move on from Ben Roethlisberger. He is now a bad quarterback and has always been a horrible human being. This dude is completely washed up!!! Team hasn’t even been able to groom a decent replacement because this guy is always “hostile” toward anybody looking like a threat to take his job and save some money on the cap. Cut this bozo already!!!

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