On Thursday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 39, to a new contract for the 2021 season. The news comes a week after Steelers president Art Rooney II indicated that the team wanted Roethlisberger back for an 18th season.
“We are excited we were able to come to an agreement with Ben Roethlisberger on a new contract for him to return to the Steelers in 2021,” said General Manager and Vice President Kevin Colbert in a statement posted at Steelers.com. “We know that Ben can still play at a high level and do special things for this team. Our goal remains the same–to put together a roster that will compete for another championship. We are happy that Ben will be one of our leaders to help us accomplish that goal.”
“It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization,” added Roethlisberger. “I am grateful to be at this stage of my career and more than happy to adjust my contract in a way that best helps the team to address other players who are so vital to our success. I love this game and love to compete, and I believe in this team and my ability to deliver when called upon. It all starts with great preparation and I am ready to go.”
As yet, details about the specifics of the agreement have not emerged. Roethlisberger was scheduled to carry a $41.25 million salary cap hit in 2021, but the new agreement no doubt reduces that number dramatically, perhaps as low as $28 million (or thereabouts). Under the old agreement he was set to receive a $15 million roster bonus in mid-March and a salary of $4 million in 2021.
Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL Career (Continues)
Roethlisberger was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft (No. 11 overall). He has played in a franchise-record 233 games (including 231 starts) and has a career record of 156-74-1. Over the course of those games he has passed for 60,348 yards and thrown 396 touchdown passes.
He is the only quarterback—and one of just a handful of players—remaining from the 2004 draft class. Former Chargers and Colts quarterback Philip Rivers retired earlier this offseason and ex-New York Giants QB Eli Manning retired last January.
Roethlisberger turned 39 years old two days ago. His return makes it much less likely that any of Pittsburgh’s other quarterbacks will see significant playing time in 2021. Backup Mason Rudolph will be entering the last year of the rookie deal he signed in 2018. The Steelers also have former Washington first-rounder Dwayne Haskins under contract for 2021.
Last year’s practice squad/fourth-string QB Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Los Angeles Rams in January. Josh Dobbs, who was the team’s third-stringer last season, is an unrestricted free agent but could return if the Steelers don’t add a quarterback in the forthcoming draft.
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