3 reasons why Roethlisberger can’t be on Steelers in 2021

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Cap Hit

To get the obvious out of the way first, Roethlisberger has a massive cap hit of over 41 million next season. Now, his retiring doesn’t equate to that cap hit being instantly alleviated. Of that 41 million, only 19 million of it is an actual salary in 2021. While that is still a considerable chunk of change, having that money freed up could go a long way in preserving some of the talent that is set to be a free agent this offseason.

If Roethlisberger was off the roster and that money would be taken off of the cap, it would allow the Steelers to likely be cap compliant from the get-go once the new salary cap is set up. Projections right now have the cap being roughly what it was last season, which would mean the Steelers would only be over by about 10 million. Roethlisberger’s 19 million would instantly get the Steelers to a better spot with the cap, which would mean less talent would have to be cut in order to free up space.

As well, this would allow the team more flexibility to retain free agents and sign outside players. While plenty of talent will still leave, the cap space provided could likely secure Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, and maybe even JuJu Smith-Schuster. As well, the team could explore some cheap fill-ins during free agency with the money freed up. Yes, the quarterback position would take a hit, but the young talent retained would be a huge win for the team.

Long term, this would be more beneficial than one more year with Roethlisberger. While the team will likely be less competitive without him, the talent they could retain would be young enough to make the transition to the next quarterback for the Steelers. Losing Roethlisberger kills any shot of a good next year, but retaining some of the pending free agents, as a result, sets the team up for future success with their next quarterback.