One only needs to look at the looming quarterback carousel set to go round-and-round to know that the Steelers situation with Ben Roethlisberger is a precarious one.
Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston. 2016 second-overall draft pick Carson Wentz will be competing for a starting job this offseason. 2018 third-overall pick Sam Darnold will be on the trading block. The 49ers are looking to move on from Jimmy Garroppolo.
Several teams will be in the market for a quarterback, whether via free agency or the NFL draft. One of those teams could include your Pittsburgh Steelers, pending Big Ben’s return.
Roethlisberger wants to return and knows it’ll be at a reduced salary. But it’s not as simple as that. He’s a future Hall of Famer in the twilight of his career. How much longer does he want to play for? What exactly will that reduced salary look like? What veterans will return to protect him in the pocket?
Ben Roethlisberger won’t play in Pittsburgh next season at $41 million UFA.
Longtime Steelers insider Ed Bouchette, a guest on 93.7 The Fan today, points out that Big Ben isn’t just going to play for nothing. “He said he didn’t care about his salary, but I don’t believe that for a minute,” Bouchette told The PM Team with Poni & Mueller.
“They’re going to have to pay him where he’s not going to be embarrass to come back play. And I just don’t know if this is all going to work out. I’ve been told it still might not.”
Bouchette added that he has a feeling this isn’t going to go down real easy and said the first indication was from Steelers owner Art Rooney II. “I don’t know that they’re fully embracing his return,” said Bouchette.
Rooney stated last week that the team has “left that door open,” which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.
Pittsburgh and Ben have a month some change to get something worked out. He’s due a $15 million roster bonus on March 17.
Either way you slice it, 2021 is not the season — or any season, for that matter — to be in the lurch at quarterback.