How many AFC quarterbacks will outplay Ben Roethlisberger in 2021?

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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It sounds like Ben Roethlisberger is going to be returning to the Steelers in 2021, but how many AFC quarterbacks will outperform him next season?

Whether you are in favor of Ben Roethlisberger returning to the Steelers in 2021 or not, it appears Pittsburgh has made up their mind to bring back their franchise quarterback for his 18th NFL season. While Ben likely gives this team the best chance of competing next year, there are obvious pros and cons to both sides of this.

Had the Steelers decided to move on, they could have truly started the rebuild process this year, and by next season, they were set to have the most cap space in the NFL, according to Over the Cap. However, restructuring and backloading Cameron Heyward’s contract was only the beginning, and there is plenty of evidence to believe that Pittsburgh will be willing to jeopardize their future cap situations for a shot at a title this year.

But how good are the Steelers odds with Big Ben in 2021? Do they really stand a legitimate chance? After all, there has been a wave of young quarterback talent to land in the AFC over the past five years.

Where does Ben Roethlisberger rank among AFC quarterbacks?

Back in 2014, we could have argued that Ben Roethlisberger was as good as the third-best quarterback in the conference – right on the heals of players like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and Tom Brady. However, we are a far cry away from those days. Six years later, we are looking at an entirely different player.

This past season, Ben’s yards per attempt dropped to 32nd in the league and his current play-style resembles more of Alex Smith than it does his former ‘Big Ben’ self. Now we have the right to question: how many AFC quarterbacks could outplay Roethlisberger in his age-39 season in 2021?