There is hope among the Steelers organization that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is likely to return for his 18th NFL season in 2021, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported Saturday.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger is welcome to return for another year. Pittsburgh's offense, however, will involve a new offensive coordinator as the franchise parted ways with Randy Fichtner this offseason.
Pittsburgh is expected to promote quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
A big part of Roethlisberger's return will depend on his contract, reports Garafolo. The 38-year-old Roethlisberger has one more year remaining worth $19 million. His cap, according to Garafolo, is $41 million.
Restructuring his contract could help the team with some of its upcoming free agents. In addition, if Roethlisberger returns, he wants JuJu Smith-Schuster in Pittsburgh as well.
Roethlisberger threw 22 touchdowns and four interceptions in his first nine games of the 2020 season after coming back from an elbow injury in 2019. In the Steelers' last eight games, Pittsburgh lost five of its final six and Roethlisberger threw 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in that span.
He finished the 2020 regular season with 3,803 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
The Steelers were eliminated from the postseason in a 48–37 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL wild-card round on Jan. 10. In that game, Roethlisberger threw for 501 yards on 47 completions, four touchdowns and four interceptions.