The saga involving veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers is seemingly nearing its inevitable conclusion.
On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala reported that Roethlisberger’s agent says the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback will return to the club for at least one more season:
Kinkhabwala’s tweet came hours after Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Roethlisberger had met with Steelers president Art Rooney II and that the meeting “went well.”
Roethlisberger turns 39 years old next month but, by all accounts, does not want the home playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns last month to be his final appearance in a Pittsburgh jersey. His contract carries a $41.25 million salary-cap hit for the 2021 season, and the Steelers would suffer a $22.25 million dead cap hit if they released him.
The math coupled with Roethlisberger’s alleged desire to play next fall always made a restructuring of his current deal to spread cap hits across multiple years the logical outcome to a story that has dominated Pittsburgh sports headlines since even before Super Bowl LV. While Kinkhabwala reported on Monday that some within the Steelers want to “simply move forward” without Roethlisberger as starting quarterback, that stopped being a legitimate option the minute he removed retirement from the discussion.
For better or for worse for all involved, Roethlisberger is tracking to be Pittsburgh’s QB1 for Week 1 of the 2021 campaign.