Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers have come to a conclusion that they will once again join forces in 2021. With the hardest part out of the way, the Steelers can just slap some void years onto Ben’s deal and be done with it, right? Not so fast. The Pittsburgh Steelers have never placed voidable years on a contract, ever. So if Ben Roethlisberger wants to come back in 2021 I see it much more likely that legitimate playable years will be added on to the end of his deal.
What a maximum restructure of Ben Roethlisberger’s current contract w/ the #Steelers would look like, freeing up $14.34M of cap space in 2021, but adding $14.34M of dead cap for 2022 when the deal voids. pic.twitter.com/2wIpNfUomb— Spotrac (@spotrac) February 24, 2021
It’s pretty easy to explain why. With voidable years the Steelers would essentially be pushing money onto future cap hits while not having the player on roster. With a true extension however, Ben Roethlisberger can choose to retire whenever he so pleases but both sides could agree to work with one another for at least another season.
.@JohnClaytonNFL says on @937theFan that he think Big Ben wants to play beyond 2021.— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 24, 2021
It is also very clear that Steelers president, Art Rooney II, has a very special bond with the Steelers quarterback. Rooney personally gave Roethlisberger his stamp of approval to come back in 2021 and beyond. Regardless of who wanted to change things up within the front office Rooney himself has the most power within the organization. Whatever he says goes and from the outside it looks like Rooney isn’t willing to separate the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger until Roethlisberger is ready to hang up his cleats himself.
A true extension can also save the Steelers $14,340,000 on the salary cap in 2021. Whatever salary the two sides agree on for future years will have that money factored in. But working out a deal like this could still get the Steelers to an estimated $7,000,000 above the salary cap. This doesn't necessarily mean Roethlisberger will play another season past 2021, however if his level of play is sufficient and Ben wants to keep going adding on a legitimate year or two would keep the door open if both sides so choose. Adding a salary component to each year keeps Roethlisberger tied to the Steelers if both sides agree and doesn’t change anything should Roethlisberger chose to retire before the end of the contract.
While some people will cringe at the thought of multiple years of Ben Roethlisberger at the helm of the Steelers offense, I should remind you what he was up against once the Steelers hit their late season collapse. Namely his offensive coordinator lacked any creativity and was extremely predictable, the Steelers running attack ranked at the bottom of the league, Ben was reportedly battling injuries to both knees, he spent the 2020 offseason in rehab, and his offensive line regressed. The Steelers have already begun the process of fixing some of these issues and with a strong draft can give Roethlisberger the scheme and talent to improve upon this past year.
But what do you think? Would the Steelers break tradition of never using voidable years in Roethlisberger’s next contract? Will he play past 2021? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.