Ben Roethlisberger…the next Chicago Bears’ quarterback? According to Jason La Canfora, that was a possibility had the Pittsburgh Steelers not reworked Roethlisberger’s contract and kept him a Steeler. Here’s what La Canfora had to write in a Tuesday morning article for CBS Sports.
“Chicago needs a major upgrade, and the options are limited. League sources said the Bears were in fact pretty serious about Carson Wentz, and had internal discussions about Big Ben as well and were primed to be perhaps the only landing spot for him had he not agreed to take a significant pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh.”
As is often the cases with La Canfora’s reporting, it’s vague and hard to refute. “Internal discussions” can mean anything from due diligence to a serious discussion about signing him. Who knows what level of interest the Bears were at. And we’ll never know the answer now that Roethlisberger is officially under contract for 2021.
But it’s interesting to think about what would’ve happened to Roethlisberger had Pittsburgh not kept him. Odds are strong he simply would’ve retired instead of starting anew in another organization. But his body feels good and he’s as competitive as anybody. It’s also possible he would’ve used his release as a chip on his shoulder and wanted to go somewhere else and prove the Steelers wrong.
In theory, this scenario could play out 12 months from now. Roethlisberger’s new contract is set to void five days after the 2022 Super Bowl, making him a free agent. That makes it likely this upcoming season will be his last in Pittsburgh. But if he plays well and his arm/body isn’t worse for wear, he could keep his career going. Again, the overwhelming odds are that he’ll retire but I’m not sure if Roethlisberger even knows his future right now.
As for the Bears, they’re still searching for a quarterback. Carson Wentz was shipped to the Colts and the Steelers kept Roethlisberger. They don’t pick until #20 in this year’s draft, making it tough for them to get one of the “Big Three” quarterbacks in this class: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and Ohio State’s Justin Fields.