Pittsburgh has a Ben Roethlisberger problem.
Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with Roethlisberger’s play or anything off the field — I’ll ignore that last part just like the organization has. For the Steelers, it’s all about money, and whether or not they want to bring Roethlisberger back for one more run at a championship.
If you look at the season-long numbers, Roethlisberger performed almost identically, if not slightly better, than his career averages. However, the stretch run for the Steelers, after an 11-0 start, was a trainwreck. Including the playoff game against the Browns, the Steelers lost four of their final five games. It was a spectacularly awful turn of events.
It started with a 23-17 Week 13 loss to the Washington Football Team, who never knew who their quarterback was going to be from week-to-week throughout the season. From that game through their Wild Card round loss to the Browns, Roethlisberger had a 12:8 touchdown to interception ratio.
At 38 years old — he’ll be 39 next month — the Steelers need to figure out if they’re looking to the future or not. Apparently, those are the conversations they are currently having, after a not-so-ringing endorsement of Roethlisberger came from General Manager Kevin Colbert.
NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala went on to emphasize that Colbert had “every opportunity today to say ‘no matter what, the team will figure out a way to make sure QB Ben Roethlisberger returned as its starter in 2021.’ He did not.”
Entering the last year of his contract, Roethlisberger is due to make $19 million but counts as a very hefty $41.25 million against the cap. If the Steelers want him back, this looks like a nasty process of restructuring negotiations. At $19 million, Roethlisberger will already be in the bottom half of starting quarterback contracts in the league. Asking him to take even less might not go over well.