The Pittsburgh Steelers may be wading in the waters of trouble or at a minimum a public relations nightmare.
It appears the inner circle of the organization is not sure what its next move is regarding future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Ben Roethlisberger turns 39 years old on March 2.
He has one more year on his contract.
Big Ben appeared visibly deflated after losing the wildcard playoff game to the Cleveland Browns in January.
I don’t want to believe this is the last we’ll see of Big Ben Roethlisberger in a black and gold uniform. I just can’t man. I think it could be time, but damn it’s a hard pill to swallow. I didn’t want him going out like this. pic.twitter.com/zCLa1Zno0N
— Steelers Clark Griswold (@6GoldRangs) February 17, 2021
The questions and speculation began.
Would that be the last time we saw Roethlisberger on the field in Pittsburgh, or anywhere for that matter?
Since that time, Ben has given the Steelers indications he wants to come back in 2021.
This is where the Steelers problems begin.
It appears they are not sure if they want him to come back.
Money is playing a part in their indecision.
Steelers GM Fuels The Fire
Kevin Colbert, the Steelers GM, did not exactly clarify the situation last week when talking about Big Ben.
He used the word “hopefully” more than one time which cannot exude confidence for Big Ben and his fanbase.
Kevin Colbert on Ben Roethlisberger: With Ben's current cap number, some adjustments will have to be made. Hopefully there's a way we can figure out what's best for the organization. Hopefully he can see that and feel the same way. There's a lot of work to be done."
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) February 17, 2021
#Steelers GM Kevin Colbert had EVERY opportunity today to say no matter what, the team would figure out a way to make sure QB Ben Roethlisberger returned as its starter in 2021.
He did not.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) February 17, 2021
Ben Roethlisberger’s options come down to two Rs — restructure or retire. pic.twitter.com/CZVOtMZIzV
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 17, 2021
Big Ben has not said anything publicly, but insiders say that he has told the Steelers he is willing to renegotiate his deal.
On Monday, February 22, NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala provided this update.
“Nothing has changed since [general manager] Kevin Colbert was still lukewarm a week ago. This is essentially turning into a really big game of chicken in Pittsburgh where the Steelers are almost daring Ben Roethlisberger to say something back. Ben Roethlisberger has already said what he wants to say, which is that he wants to come back and play for the Steelers. That he’s willing to work with the Steelers on ameliorating that $41 million cap hit, that he will indeed play for the $19 million that he’s owed. He’s not going to look for a raise, and now it’s the Steelers’ turn.”
The Ben Roethlisberger story is gaining more and more momentum. https://t.co/pm6soPfmdg
— Jason Smith (@howaboutafresca) February 19, 2021
If money is truly the issue and Ben is willing to work with the Steelers on restructuring his deal, then there should be no problem.
It almost seems as though they wanted Roethlisberger to balk on money so they had an easy way out.
Now that he has not done that, what will be their out if they are still seeking one?
There is a quarterback carousel going on in the NFL in 2021 so the Steelers could try to get in on the action and pick up Sam Darnold or others.
The NFL Draft always provides an outlet to search for a quarterback.
We will learn a lot about where this is headed in the next couple of weeks because the Steelers need to decide quickly if Ben is their man in 2021 or not and act accordingly.
Maybe the Steelers fanbase will embrace a change one year before Ben’s contract expires, but it is likely some will not.
Things are about to get very interesting in Pittsburgh so stay tuned.