“They want Ben back and will contact me soon to address his cap situation. As we’ve shared since the season ended, we are happy to creatively adjust his contract to help them build the best team possible.”
That quote, courtesy of Steelers insider and NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala, was from Ryan Tollner, Ben Roethlisberger’s agent, who seemed to provide the final evidence earlier in the week that the veteran quarterback will indeed return for 2021.
Like you, I know I was ready to move on from Roethlisberger and his 33 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 2020. I wanted the clock to begin on the Steelers’ future immediately. We’re talking cap room, a possible trade for someone like Marcus Mariota and the re-signing of Bud Dupree, a player now in therapy over the love/hate feelings from the fans since he was drafted in 2015. “First they loved me, then they hated me, now they love me again? I want to sign with Jacksonville where the fans don’t notice professional football players, like at all.”
I was hoping 2021 would be a bridge year, one in which we got to find out about Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and I mentioned Martiota, right? Best case scenario: The winner of that quarterback competition would surely have flamed out so badly, Pittsburgh may have finished with a draft choice high enough that we all could have started our 2022 mock drafts by Halloween.
And most of those mock drafts undoubtedly would have had the Steelers selecting whoever is going to be next spring’s Trevor Lawrence.
Heck, forget about next year’s crop of quarterbacks, if we found out that Roethlisberger wasn’t going to be back for 2021, legit draft crushes may have been allowed to grow for passing prospects in this year’s class. “In my latest mock draft, the Steelers trade up to get their new Ben: The Trevor Lawrence edition.”
Oh well. I guess we’ll have to settle for a team with a quarterback who may actually allow it to compete in 2021, a future Hall of Famer who will now have a normal offseason to prepare without worrying about whether or not his surgically repaired elbow will fail him at any second.
The Steelers will now have to focus their free-agent resources on players to put around Roethlisberger, like offensive linemen, for example. They’ll have to use their first first-round pick in two years on a position other than quarterback, maybe even cornerback—nooooooooo!!!!!!
But, fear not, because there is still hope. Just like with Art Rooney’s statement and Kevin Colbert’s statement, Tollner didn’t offer anything official, anything concrete. He just reiterated what two of Roethlisberger’s bosses had already said. They want Big Ben back but not at the same big bucks. Maybe they still won’t be able to work things out in the end.
Besides, as far as we know, Rooney or Colbert could be the person within the Steelers organization who doesn't want Roethlisberger back. Maybe it’s Mike Tomlin, who has a lot of clout. Even better, it could be T.J. Watt, a Watt brother, who doesn’t want Roethlisberger to come back.
Bottom line, if someone of influence within the Steelers organization offers up enough resistance, the Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh may soon be over, after all.
Don’t throw away those newly-printed “Got Six Wins?” t-shirts, just yet.
Relax and continue to BENLEAVE!!!!