The Pittsburgh Steelers bombed out of the playoffs last night, falling behind 28-0 to the Cleveland Browns before losing 48-37.
Ben Roethlisberger finished with 501 yards passing and four touchdowns–but also threw four interceptions and was a major reason why the Steelers dug themselves such a big hole. The 38-year-old two-time Super Bowl champion looked much like he did during the regular season–a shell of his younger self.
On “The Herd” this afternoon, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd advocated for Pittsburgh to move on from the future Hall of Fame quarterback as soon as possible, saying that a combination of Roethlisberger’s age, playing style and lack of care for his body have caught up with him.
“Stop living in the past. Next year, we’ve got 17 games minimum. Does Ben look like a 17-game quarterback in this league?” Cowherd said. “Old, slow, plodding, unprepared. You can blame Tomlin, and he deserves a lot of head too. But in the end, we know the reality of this organization–the don’t fire head coaches–and we know the reality of what they are at quarterback.”
It's time for the Steelers to move off Ben Roethlisberger:
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 11, 2021
It should be noted that in his postgame media session, Roethlisberger expressed hope that the Steelers choose to bring him back for next season.
“Well it’s gonna start between me and God,” Roethlisberger said about his decision. “A lot of praying. And then, you know, a lot of talking with my family, discussions, decisions. And, you know, I still have a year left on my contract. I hope the Steelers want me back, if that’s the way we go. There’ll be a lot of discussions, but now’s not the time for that.”
There’s also the matter of contractual obligations, and the financial ramifications of the Steelers cutting Big Ben are noteworthy.
Additionally, QB Ben Roethlisberger (38) holds an NFL high $41.25M cap figure for 2021. He has a $15M roster bonus due March 19th. Should he retire or be released, the #Steelers would take on $22.25M of dead cap. https://t.co/J9O2FZG2K2
— Spotrac (@spotrac) January 11, 2021
Our hunch is that if Roethlisberger wants to play next season, the Steelers will have a spot on the roster for him. However, the franchise should use this offseason to develop a legitimate succession plan at quarterback.