If the Pittsburgh Steelers cut Ben Roethlisberger, and it’s a huge ‘if’, these three teams could sign him.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the last undefeated team in the NFL in 2020, reaching 11-0 before fading to 12-4 and being outclassed by the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card Round. The symbol of that drop-off was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is entering the final year of his contract in 2021.
Years of kicking the salary cap can down the road has reached a point of reckoning for the Steelers. Roethlisberger is set to carry a league-high $41.25 million cap hit this year, which combined with the Steelers’ overall cap issues makes a contract extension a virtual certainty.
Unless…well, let’s look at what Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this week.
“As we sit here today” is not exactly a ringing declaration Roethlisberger will be back. In fact, it reeks of what Rams general manager Les Snead said about Jared Goff right before trading him.
So there’s a faint idea Roethlisberger won’t be in a Steelers uniform next season, and also that it won’t be because he retired. The Steelers can clear $19 million in cap space by cutting him, and take on the remainder of his cap hit ($22.25 million) in dead money. Trading him is possible, but the market for a 39-year old quarterback (on March 2) who looks like a shell of what he was surely wouldn’t be robust.
So let’s walk down the path where the Steelers cut their long-time signal caller.
3 teams who could sign Ben Roethlisberger if the Steelers cut him
3. Washington Football Team
Though they won the NFC East last season with just a 7-9 record last season, Washington looks like a team on the rise under head coach Ron Rivera. They also have a big question at quarterback, as they weigh keeping Alex Smith and as they’ve already re-signed Taylor Heinicke to fit somewhere on the depth chart.
Washington has the fifth-most cap space in the league right now ($38.27 million, according to Over The Cap), so they can bolster the roster any way they see fit. A dip into free agency for a quarterback feels inevitable, with some dependence on who’s available (Dak Prescott?). If Roethlisberger joins the ranks of the available, Washington definitely can’t be ruled out as a possible suitor.