What’s going to happen between the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the next three weeks? While nobody really knows for sure right now, there certainly isn’t a lack of speculation as to what might happen and especially on the heels of what all Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert did and did not say about Roethlisberger’s potential future status with the team when he talked to the media last week for nearly 30 minutes. In fact, one national media member seems to interpret the current situation between the Steelers and Roethlisberger as a big game of chicken right now. That one person is Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network.
“This is essentially turning into a really big game of chicken here in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers are almost daring Ben Roethlisberger to say something back,” Kinkhabwala said Monday during an NFL Network segment about Roethlisberger. “And Ben Roethlisberger has already said what he wants to say, which is that he wants to come back and play for the Steelers. That he’s willing to work with the Steelers on ameliorating that $41 million cap hit. That he will indeed pay for the $19 million that he’s owed. He is not going to look for any sort of a raise. And now it’s the Steelers turn.”
Personally, I think this is all hogwash. A game of chicken? Really? That’s my opinion. It seems so over-dramatized right now, but that’s just me. Feel free to call me crazy.
Kinkhabwala did not stop there, however.
“The Steelers are not in consensus on what to do,” Kinkhabwala continued. “From what I have been told, there is a very, very strong feeling in that building that it is time to simply move forward and that while the Steelers still have Ben Roethlisberger, there’s a bit of a limbo. Because even though there is a new offensive coordinator and there is a new quarterbacks coach, Ben Roethlisberger likes to play a particular way and that does not necessarily mesh with all the shifts and the motions that that new offensive coordinator Matt Canada would like to incorporate.”
Strong feeling in the building? The only people in the Steelers building that matter are team president Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin. No, quarterback Mason Rudolph does not count as a person in the building.
So, why maybe haven’t the two sides come to an agreement as of yet as to what Roethlisberger’s future is? Maybe it’s because no real heavy talks have taken place yet between the two sides. In fact, Kinkhabwala even admitted as much on Twitter Monday afternoon. Is this a big deal? Personally, I don’t think so. After all, there is still more than three weeks remaining before a decision must be made. The NFL still hasn’t set a cap number for 2021 as well.
How will things ultimately play out? I have my guess just like most of you have yours. Despite all that has been said or not said this offseason, my best prediction remains that Roethlisberger will play for the Steelers in 2021 and still receive the $19 million he’s currently still due to do just that, albeit via an extension that includes voidable years. Could my gut guess be wrong? Sure, it could.
I have no skin in the Roethlisberger game. If he is not back in 2021, I still will cover the team in the same manner that I have since 2008. If he returns for the 2021 season, I will do the same. in closing, I feel all of this “talk” and “reporting” right now is highly manufactured right now to better sell a story. I just can’t buy right now that negotiations between the Steelers and Roethlisberger have now reached the same level as a game of chicken to see who backs down first. And I apologize in advance to whomever I might offend with that opinion.