The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Maurkice Pouncey will retire when Ben Roethlisberger retires.
Explanation: Center Maurkice Pouncey has gone on record multiple times to say that he was going to hang it up when Roethlisberger does, and that he doesn’t want to play with any other quarterback. When Roethlisberger was contemplating retirement, he said that he told Roethlisberger, jokingly, to give him a couple more years. Currently, with both getting two-year extensions, the pair is under contract for the next three years through the 2021 season.
Just based on the predicted career expectancy of each player at their relative positions, it’s more than plausible. By the time Pouncey’s current contract runs through, he’ll have played 12 NFL seasons and will be 32 years old. He’s made about as much money as anybody else ever has playing center. He’s done everything except win a Super Bowl. And if they manage to do that in the next three years, I think it’s a wrap on this question.
But we don’t have to work with the three-year window. Roethlisberger has never said that he is going to retire after three years. He said that he is committed to playing for the next three years. If he’s still playing at a high level, he has implied that he can see himself continuing to play beyond that. it’s even possible that he outlasts Pouncey, though that may be pushing it.
Let’s make one thing very clear: players walk back non-committal retirement talk all the time. Just look at Eric Weddle, who originally said that he would ride out into the sunset if the Ravens released him. They did, and then he quickly signed with the Rams.
If Roethlisberger were to choose to retire after 2021 and Pouncey still wanted to play, he would continue to play. Maybe he might find somewhere else to play, perhaps even finding a way to hook up with his twin and finish their playing careers working side by side.