The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
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: In the extremely unlikely event that the Steelers were to part ways with Ben Roethlisberger and he wanted to continue his career, what kind of market would he have?
If you want me to put odds on this, I give Ben Roethlisberger about a 95 percent chance of playing for the Steelers this year, and a 5 percent chance of retiring. There is, in my opinion, zero chance at all that he continues to play beyond this year unless it’s in Pittsburgh, in contrast to what Philip Rivers pulled last year. He would go the Eli Manning route before anything.
But since this is an area for hypotheticals, and it is one that has been posited by some outlets in recent days, I figured it would be at least worth considering. We already know that Roethlisberger wants to continue to play. In the even that the Steelers decide that it’s best for the organization to move on, and they end up releasing him—who wants him? What will he get paid?
There are, of course, teams in need of a quarterback. Like, oh, I don’t know, say the New England Patriots. Imagine Bill Belichick matching Tom Brady’s seventh Lombardi Trophy with Ben Roethlisberger under center. You’re welcome for that.
Any team expecting to draft a quarterback early later this year could also be looking to sign him. Even though it has largely fallen out of fashion, there are still some who prefer to let their young quarterback sit for a bit first. It did work for Patrick Mahomes, who has a Super Bowl ring, two title game appearances, three conference finals appearances, and a league MVP award in his three seasons as a starter after sitting behind Alex Smith in 2017.