Roethlisberger has been the Steelers’ franchise quarterback for almost 20 years, but he’s old and expensive and his best days appear behind him. Roethlisberger has one year remaining on his current contract and carries a massive cap hit at the moment.
While the two-time Super Bowl champion has indicated he wants to play next season in Pittsburgh, the Steelers haven’t exactly been enthusiastic about that possibility.
Right now, there is a standoff between the player and the organization, NFL Media insider Aditi Kinkhabwala said on Monday.
“Nothing has changed since [general manager] Kevin Colbert was still lukewarm a week ago,” Kinkhabwala said. “This is essentially turning into a really big game of chicken in Pittsburgh where the Steelers are almost daring Ben Roethlisberger to say something back. Ben Roethlisberger has already said what he wants to say, which is that he wants to come back and play for the Steelers. That he’s willing to work with the Steelers on ameliorating that $41 million cap hit, that he will indeed play for the $19 million that he’s owed. He’s not going to look for a raise, and now it’s the Steelers’ turn.”
According to Kinkhabwala, who has covered the Steelers for a while now, the reason why Pittsburgh has been hesitant to make its next move is because there is some internal turmoil regarding whether Roethlisberger should be welcomed back at all.
“But here’s the thing, the Steelers are not in consensus on what to do. From what I’ve been told, there is a very, very strong feeling in that building that it is time to simply move forward. While the Steelers still have Ben Roethlisberger, there is a bit of a limbo. Because even though there is a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterbacks coach, Ben Roethlisberger likes to play a particular way and that does not necessarily mesh with all the shifts and the motions that that new offensive coordinator Matt Canada would like to incorporate.”
Right now, the Steelers are in the unenviable position of what to do with a legendary franchise quarterback as his career comes to a close.
How they handle Big Ben moving forward will ultimately set the tone of the direction the franchise takes not just in 2021, but more importantly, beyond that.