Steelers have contentious choices ahead of Big Ben’s pending retirement

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Steelers Ben Roethlisberger (7) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

On the eve of the Steelers rivalry with the Ravens, Adam Schefter broke the news that all but confirms Big ben will retire after 2021.

It’s not like many of us have not suspected it might happen. Some fans want Roethlisberger to go because he is not playing as he did five or ten seasons ago. Ok, it’s a fair point. Some just suspected he planned to make 2021 his last season. Others will still hold out hope he changes his mind and does come back for one more season. Nonetheless, it seems clear 2021 will be the final season for Ben Roethlisberger.

In a post-game interview, it was said that Roethlisberger won’t make a final decision until January at the earliest. So despite all the hoopla over the news, his retirement is still open-ended. That said, for now,  let’s take him at his word.

The only thing more contentious about whether Big Ben should retire or return is the path the Steelers should take in 2022 to replace the only signal-caller they have had for 18 seasons. With Big Ben gone, those are exceedingly large shoes to fill.   Especially considering how his career started in the NFL, replacing an injured Tommy Maddox against Baltimore and then winning his first 15 games. It’s very rare a rookie quarterback manages such a feat. Anything his eventual replacement does will seem a failure in comparison. When they finally draft his replacement in 2022 or 2023, Roethlisberger’s heir will not have the same measured success to start his career.

So if Roethlisberger retires as the breaking news suggests, then there are four options. Trade for a short-term replacement, sign a veteran free agent, go with Dwayne Haskins or Mason Rudolph or draft a replacement in 2022. Some fans feel the lack of talent in the 2022 draft class may be lacking, and the Steelers should wait until 2023, and others feel that may be the only way to go if only by necessity. So what do the Steelers do in 2022?