A common trend has been popping up all over the Steelers online fan base in recent days. Fans and media alike are suggesting the team pick up virtually any quarterback that becomes available, or are cutting together mock trades to move up in the 2021 NFL Draft to find Ben’s successor.
There are a few things wrong with this. For starters, Ben Roethlisberger carries a massive cap hit for 2021, and the Steelers cannot afford adding anymore money to the position. With the potential of the salary cap dropping, the Steelers will also need to lower Roethlisberger’s number to keep this team intact. If Ben doesn't choose to retire in the offseason, the Steelers will likely have to give him an extension and spread his cap hit into 2022 as well. He might be willing to do this if the Steelers can offer him around 25-30 million a year and give him the money in the form of a fully guaranteed signing bonus. Adding void years on top of that, like how the Patriots negotiated Tom Brady’s last contract, could lower the number further.
Ben Roethlisberger has a $41.25M cap hit in 2021, with a compensation package of $19 million. If he plays next year, they'll have to extend his contract to knock down that cap charge. Eventually, a major cap reckoning is coming.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 22, 2020
Bottom line is Ben Roethlisberger will be back in 2021 and probably again in 2022. Paying Sam Darnold or Dwyane Haskins $5 million dollars, or more, to ride the pine for a couple years would just be foolish. In my opinion, the Steelers should be looking at the 2022 draft class for a successor, someone that would sit behind Ben for one season before having another four years on a rookie deal to lead this team.
The Steelers need to still be all-in on Ben Roethlisberger as the starter of this team if they want any chance of a championship over the next two seasons. If Roethlisberger’s play drops off at all, then the Steelers will just have to ride off into the sunset with the greatest quarterback in franchise history whilst moving up in the NFL Draft order. Either way this team belongs to Ben Roethlisberger for as long as Ben Roethlisberger wants to be the guy. As fans we need to just hope the next few seasons look more like the Steelers second half against the Colts than the first half of the same game.
Steelers QB room gonna be loaded next year: Haskins, Darnold, Winston.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 28, 2020
If you’re concerned about a backup quarterback let’s just wait to see what Mason Rudolph can do against the Browns with the Steelers practice squad surrounding him. Rudolph’s deal expires after next season, the same offseason I would predict the team attempts to draft Ben’s successor. If Rudolph is flat out terrible on Sunday, and the Steelers feel the need to address the back up spot, then they should look at someone like Tyrod Taylor, who will likely be had for $1 million or less.
But what do you think? Why are Steelers fans so infatuated with sub-par quarterbacks? What does your Ben Roethlisberger succession plan look like? Let us know our thoughts to these questions down in the comments below.