I was wrong: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger did the right thing

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers . (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers . (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

No one knew for sure what a Steelers extension for Roethlisberger would look like, and this author was personally wrong about what ultimately happened.

The speculation regarding Steelers Ben Roethlisberger has run a rough shot since the end of the season. Given his massive cap hit due to recent bonuses, some were ready to see Roethlisberger retire or get cut in order to save some cap. Others wanted him back no matter the cost. Others yet expected him to take a massive pay cut in order to stay with the team.

As for this author, I had fully expected Roethlisberger to get a new contract in order to space out his due salary over the next few years. It would save some cap, but ultimately Roethlisberger would still be making every penny that was owed to him. Even if the remaining years were voidable years, I thought it was nearly impossible that Roethlisberger takes a cent less if he played in 2021. To me, paying him that much was more of a harm to the Steelers than a benefit.

I was wrong, as Roethlisberger announced he was taking a five million dollar pay cut as well as adding the additional voidable years to decrease his cap hit. While it only adds roughly a million extra in salary cap space, taking a straight pay cut is almost unheard of when already under contract. Think of it for yourself? If your boss came in and said they wanted you to take 15 percent less but still do the same job, you would be insulted.

The same goes for the NFL. Sure, players are making more than the average salary, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is their job. Taking a pay cut is rare for that reason. Normally, players instead are just cut and accept less money elsewhere. Roethlisberger’s willingness to take less money is a testament to his dedication to the team as well as his desire to field as competitive of a roster in 2021.

This doesn’t make the Steelers competitors

Don’t get too excited yet, as Roethlisberger reducing his cap hit helps but it still makes fielding a competitive roster in what should be a tough AFC North unlikely. The team is projected to be just under the cap now, and while additional moves will give them some leeway, they will still see a mass exodus of talent this offseason. Roethlisberger playing for less is a feel-good story, but it doesn’t change the likely outcome of the team’s 2021 season much.

There are still inherent concerns with him returning as well. Will his play mesh with the new offense? Will his arm continue to regress? Is winning 8-9 games that much better than winning 6-7? All of those issues still stand. That said, Roethlisberger’s willingness to play for less is a testament to his desire to keep playing. Kudos to him, as that was an unselfish thing to do.

Related Story. Steelers most overlooked position to fill for the 2021 season. light

Does his return impact the Steelers’ odds much? No, but his willingness to play for less is a true look at how Roethlisberger feels for this team. He truly wants one last shot at the Super Bowl, and while the odds will be long, you can never count them out. His willingness to play for less is a testament to the love he has for this team and city. I was personally wrong about him for this reason, and him playing for less has earned him even more admiration from me.