Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While it has been presumed by most for some time, Ben Roethlisberger signed a new contract on Thursday that all but guarantees that he will be the team’s quarterback for 2021, though it seems likely to be his last.
The only thing that was even a mild surprise in how the situation between Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers evolved this offseason was in the simple fact that it ended with the quarterback accepting a pay cut of $5 million as part of a restructured contract that allows the team to save more than $15 million against the 2021 salary cap.
Having already been under contract for the 2021 season, having stated that he wants to play, and with the team having stated that they want him to play, the only thing that was left to figure out was the math and the money.
In the end, they settled on a multi-tiered approach in lowering his cap hit, combining a pay cut with a four-year voidable extension that adds no new money in order to maximize the possible savings against this year’s salary cap.
While the outcome of a new deal being worked out was pretty much a given, the news that he took a pay cut cast him in a completely different light in the eyes of many who insisted that he be ‘held to his word’ after he is said to have claimed earlier this offseason that he doesn’t care about his pay.
Roethlisberger has earned well over $250 million over the course of his five-year career, so dropping his compensation from $19 million to $14 million isn’t exactly going to send him to poverty row, though one certainly can’t chalk this up to a purely altruistic move, as there’s a good chance that he didn’t have much choice but to accept it or be cut.