Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger Going Separate Ways?
Are the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger going their separate ways this year?
Roethlisberger is very clearly reaching the end of his career. Prior to getting hurt last season, the 37-year-old was looking his age far more than 42-year-old Tom Brady and 41-year-old Drew Brees were.
Unlike some of his championship-level rivals, Roethlisberger has taken a lot of damage.
He has a sack rate that is double Brees’ and significantly higher than other oft-injured quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions and former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
The latter was forced to retire from all the hits he took.
This year Roethlisberger had to undergo surgery to reattach three tendons in the elbow of his throwing hand. If his health and ability was a question mark pre-injury, it has to be one after the fact as well.
Mind you, it is not like Roethlisberger is falling off from some tremendously high point. He has not made a Pro Bowl appearance in three years.
— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) December 7, 2019
Beyond that, when Roethlisberger is healthy, he rivals Jameis Winston and Philip Rivers in terms of turnovers.
Last year, Pittsburgh re-signed Roethlisberger to a two year deal that pays him $34 million annually. He is tied for the second-highest paid quarterback in the league behind Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
If the Steelers opted to get rid of Roethlisberger, the organization would still need to deal with a $25 million salary cap hit.
That is bad, but is that worth committing to Roethlisberger long-term just to double down on the original error of giving him the contract to begin with? Obviously not.
Roethlisberger has considered retiring in recent years, but just a few months ago came out and publicly said he had no plans of doing so for next season.
That means the only way Pittsburgh will get rid of him is by proactively doing so.
If the Steelers do end up doing that, the team could free up nearly $9 million this year.
While that is not an insane amount of money, it could still be applied to securing better quarterback play for the looming season.
The team could try to trade for a proven veteran on the mend like Cam Newton, who the Carolina Panthers clearly want to get rid off. But at this stage, it is unclear if Newton really has that much more in the tank than Roethlisberger does. Sure, he is seven years younger – but does he play like it?
Pittsburgh could also try their hand at the draft, targeting someone like Utah State’s Jordan Love, who had a tremendous Senior Bowl showing a few weeks ago.
The Steelers could also make a play for someone like Marcus Mariota, who will likely be a backup for someone like the Las Vegas Raiders if he does not land with them.
Teddy Bridgewater would also be an interesting piece to consider, but he will likely get a bigger offer elsewhere. If not, he more than proved his abilities with the New Orleans Saints this past season when Brees got hurt.
There a lot of quality quarterback options out there for Pittsburgh. The question now is whether team management has the cojones to cut bait and call a sunk loss a sunk loss with Roethlisberger.
At the moment, it looks like the answer to that question is no. Butt there is definitely still plenty of time for all involved to change their mind.