Ben Roethlisberger may turn 39-years-old in March, but he showed last season that he still has plenty left in the tank completing 65.6% of his passes to go along with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while going 12-3 during the regular season. However, the Steelers stumbled down the stretch before falling to the Browns in the Wild Card round of the playoffs and more uncertainty has swirled around the QB’s future in Pittsburgh.
To add to that, Roethlisberger’s longtime center, Maurkice Pouncey, announced his retirement and the two have said in the past that they’ll play as long as the other does. With that being said, Roethlisberger seems prepared to suit up without Pouncey next season.
One major piece to the Roethlisberger-Pittsburgh puzzle is money. Pouncey’s retirement saves the Steelers around $8 million in cap space, which helps, but Roethlisberger’s current contract carries a cap-hit of over $41 million next season, which is an astronomical figure. Given the large cap-hit, ESPN’s Steelers insider Brooke Pryor says the QB only has two options: retire or restructure his contract.
“His options essentially boil down to two “r’s,” restructure or retire,” Pryor said. “The Steelers can save around $14 million if they can restructure his base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus, spread over multiple years.”
“Roethlisberger has signaled that he’s willing to take a pay cut, but retirement could still be on the table – especially considering longtime teammate and friend Maurkice Pouncey called it a career.”
Ben Roethlisberger’s options come down to two Rs — restructure or retire. pic.twitter.com/CZVOtMZIzV
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 17, 2021
One has to assume that given the fact Roethlisberger hasn’t announced his retirement yet, he’s looking forward to suiting up again next season. The Steelers were arguably the NFL’s best team for the majority of the regular season last year and if they can keep key pieces around and add playmakers here and there, they could be a legitimate threat in the AFC if Roethlisberger plays at a relatively high-cliip.