Is 2021 really going to be the final season in the NFL for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? While that certainly looks very plausible, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert still isn’t ready to deem that 2021 will be Roethlisberger’s final season in Pittsburgh. He said as much during his Tuesday interview with Mike Florio of Pro football Talk.
“Yeah, I think Ben’s mindset is he’s focused on 2021, as we all are,” Colbert said. “And I think we all go into it and we focus now. We’ll see where things lead, but beyond that, none of us know. And obviously Ben’s in the back end of his career. He was terribly disappointed the way we ended [last season], the way he ended. And, you know, shortly after the end of the season, he came to us and said, ‘Listen, I want to be back.’ You know, of course we had to work out some things contractually and honestly, he set off a nice little surge for us because we had several players that were able to come back to us, but Ben led the way by taking that pay cut.”
That pay cut that Roethlisberger took back in March was $5 million. In the process of giving that money back, he agreed to have his contract extended by four years, all of which void five days after the 2021 Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. In short, if Roethlisberger and the Steelers don’t agree to alter that current contract prior to the void date, there’s a good chance that the veteran quarterback will become an unrestricted free agent next March.
While the Steelers didn’t draft a quarterback this year, they did sign backup quarterback to a one-year contract extension just prior to the draft getting underway. That move means a lot and shows the team seems more than comfortable with giving Rudolph at least a one-year shot at being the team’s starter in 2022, if indeed 2021 winds up being it for Roethlisberger.
For Roethlisberger to return in 2022, one would think that such an occurrence would come on the heels of him having an extraordinarily strong 2021 season and one that includes a deep playoff run. So, in summation, and just as Colbert said to Florio on Tuesday, we’ll see where things lead. Right now, none of us can really be sure if 2021 will indeed be Roethlisberger’s final season with the Steelers.