The Pittsburgh Steelers could either part way with Ben Roethlisberger or will they begin fresh this offseason.
The Steelers and Roethlisberger are expected to meet next week to discuss both his future and his contract with the team, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Roethlisberger is coming off a year in which he threw for 3,803 and 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, but also threw a career-low 6.3 yards per attempted pass.
Roethlisberger has made it clear he would like to return for an 18th season in the Steel City after helping the team finish with a 12-4 record. The veteran gunslinger told The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette that he would even be willing to take a pay cut to remain with the franchise for another season.
“I want to do everything I can and made that very clear to them from the very beginning that it was my idea to basically help the team however I can this year,” Roethlisberger said, according to Bouchette earlier this month.
Is Roethlisberger worth bringing back another season?
Roethlisberger, who will turn 39 in March, is expected to cost the Steelers a $41.2 million cap hit according to his deal in place. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s role in revenue lost this season for the Steelers, their cap space is expected to take a hit from what the original price was expected to be this offseason.
The biggest issue with keeping Roethlisberger on his deal will be the limited resources found in free agency. The team will need to begin anew after falling in a 48-37 Wild Card Round matchup. Meanwhile, they’ll also have to decide which names are worth bringing back for the upcoming season.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will hit free agency in March, and center Maurkice Pouncey could be leaning toward retirement. Both players had an essential role in the recent success of Roethlisberger as his leader in the trenches and go-to target when passing.
The Steelers will still have James Washington, Diontae Johnson and rookie Chase Claypool all under contract through the 2021 season should Smith-Schuster leave for a lucrative deal in free agency.
Both sides seem to want their time together to end on a positive note in Pittsburgh. However, money will always talk the loudest.
If Roethlisberger and the Steelers cannot come to terms, the team might be forced to cut ties with their franchise guy and look to the draft once more for an heir apparent under center.