The Steelers are planning on bringing Ben Roethlisberger back in 2021. Here’s why it’s Super Bowl or bust for Pittsburgh next season.
Though nothing is technically official yet, Art Rooney II made it loud and clear during a statement on Wednesday morning that the Steelers would like to have Ben Roethlisberger back for the 2021 season. Ben is entering the final year of his $91 million contract extension and is set to have a $41.25 million cap hit in 2021 – the largest in the NFL.
Obviously, Pittsburgh can’t afford to bring him back with that sort of hit against the cap, and Kevin Colbert has made that well-known. Regardless of the financial situation and the coaching and player turnover this offseason, the Steelers still want to get something worked out with Roethlisberger so that he can suit up in 2021. Here’s what Rooney had to say, according to Burt Lauten on Twitter:
“Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting. We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go. Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship. We both understand that the next step is to work out Ben’s contract situation.”
While Art Rooney didn’t come right out and say that Ben will be the Steelers quarterback next year, this is obviously what both sides want, and they will work out the financial details to get there before all NFL teams have to be cap-compliant on March 17th.
Why it’s Super Bowl or bust for Steelers in 2021
Ben Roethlisberger gives this team the best chance to win in 2021; I still believe that. However, sticking with him this year may not come without great cost to the organization. In order to lower Ben’s cap hit, Pittsburgh will be forced to give him a ‘voidable’ extension and spread his dead-cap numbers into future years – years when he will no longer be with the team.
But here’s where it gets sticky. It’s not just going to be Roethlisberger’s cap that gets pushed into the future. By keeping him this year, Pittsburgh will also try to retain the services of as many veteran players as possible. Unfortunately, many of them (like Joe Haden, David DeCastro, and Steven Nelson) already have sizable cap hits next season. To lower their current cap numbers in 2021, the Steelers could extend them and push more money into the future.
The sad truth is that giving Big Ben one more year is going to put the Steelers behind the eight ball for several years to come. If Pittsburgh doesn’t win it all this season, fans will be looking back on 2021 and questioning why the team was willing to jeopardize the future for one season. It’s Super Bowl or bust for the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger in 2021.