While the issue is not yet 100 percent settled, because there is no new contract signed that stipulates the changes that will come with the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger working to lower his salary cap hit for the 2021 season, I think we can reasonably state with confidence at this point that he will be returning for at least another season.
At that point, the question becomes how important the at least part is. Will 2021 definitely be his last season? The structure of the contract could tell us something about that, such as if Roethlisberger’s subsequent years don’t have ‘dummy’ figures as base salaries that the team nor the player would obviously have any intentions of honoring.
Multiple people who cover the league and the team, however, have recently weighed in on the question of Roethlisberger potentially continuing his career beyond this year. I wrote about John Clayton’s remarks recently. Aditi Kinkhabwala also acknowledged that it’s a possibility while on 93.7 The Fan, to a host who was very clearly beside himself in dismay over the news that he was coming back for this season.
“I think it all depends on how this year goes. I really do”, he said about the possibility of Roethlisberger playing beyond 2021. “I really think that Ben, for the last five, six, seven years, has really been kind of year to year. And he was very vocal early on in that window, maybe five, six years ago. ‘Well, I’m not sure, I might retire, let me think about it’. There were a few years in a row with him saying ‘I might not come back’”.
“I think he’s at the point in his career where it’s, ‘can I do it? Can I compete at a high level?’. Ben isn’t in this right now to garner yards. He doesn’t need any more yards. What he wants is another ring. So how does he feel about his ability to do that?”, she went on.
“There are a lot of other factors at play here. What’s his offensive line going to be? What’s the run-game situation going to be? How is he going to get along with Matt Canada? How is Matt Canada going to adapt what he wants to do to what Ben Roethlisberger is capable of doing and willing to do?”.
Personally speaking, I don’t foresee Canada’s offense being an issue. It’s not like his quarterbacks are expected to be read-option runners or anything like that, and frankly I think Roethlisberger’s mobility limitations are vastly exaggerated, especially when you discount the fact that he was playing much of last season with a knee injury that he acknowledged suffering.