The Pittsburgh Steelers are now training camp, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp will look much different from the norm, and a big part of that will be the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. There will be no preseason played in 2020, so the first time the Steelers take the field in 2020 will be for the season opener against the New York Giants.
Before we get there, however, there are a number of issues that are outstanding on this team, and this year’s edition of training camp will not provide the level of thoroughness that teams are normally used to in trying to answer those questions.
Questions like, what is the starting offensive line going to look like? Will it include Zach Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor? Who will be the primary nose tackle? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will Ben Roethlisberger sign a new contract extension next offseason?
While speaking to reporters on Tuesday for the first time since his injury, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he doesn’t feel like he is approaching the end of the road in his football career. Currently, he has two years remaining on his contract, part of a two-year extension that he signed last offseason, but his comments indicate that, based on how he currently feels, he believes that he could play beyond the 2021 season.
He would be 40 years old, or in his age-40 season, by the time his current contract runs out, but as we have seen, it’s no longer uncommon for elite-level quarterback talent to play into their 40s, as we are currently seeing with Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Roethlisberger acknowledged to reporters that he was experiencing issues with his elbow for years, though never to the degree that he felt once he had to leave the field last season. As Kevin Colbert said earlier this offseason, it is reasonable to speculate about the possibility that he could be in his best form that we have seen in years.
Getting an extension done would be a huge relief in terms of the salary cap, which could be as low as $175 million in 2021—over $13 million less than this year’s cap, and more than the Steelers already account against it. He currently is scheduled to count $41.25 million against the cap next year, including a $15 million roster bonus and a $4 million base salary.