One of the biggest question marks for the Pittsburgh Steelers coming into the 2021 NFL off-season was whether QB Ben Roethlisberger will retire. Well, the decision has been made, as Roethlisberger and the Steelers agreed on a one-year contract according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Big Ben is now locked in through the 2021 season and frees up over $15 million in cap space for the team. The 39-year-old had the largest cap hit of any QB in the league coming into 2021. For the Steelers, they will finally have some breathing room to potentially re-sign some of the key free agents they have.
Will the 2021 season be Roethlisberger's last rodeo in the NFL?
Now that Roethlisberger is locked up for the 2021 season, the team can worry a bit less about the upcoming season. After losing in the Wild Card round in the 2020 playoffs, many around the league believed this was his last season.
It was unclear if the veteran QB would return in 2020 as well, as Roethlisberger had surgery on an elbow which he injured in Week 2 of the 2019 season. But he proved to everyone he still had some fuel left in his tank, taking his team to an 11-0 record before being defeated by the Washington Football Team.
After that loss, the downfall began for the Steelers, as they'd go on to lose three more games. Nonetheless, they were able to top the AFC North with a 12-4 record, only to lose to their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns, in the NFL Wild Card round.
With Roethlisberger aging and showing clear signs of it on the field, this will likely be his final season in the NFL before hanging the cleats up. It could also provide an opportunity for the team to use the veteran as a bridge QB to set up the future of the Steelers. Can Roethlisberger straighten up young QB Dwayne Haskins and potentially make him the future QB of the Steelers? We will only find out later this year.