Add Another One to the List of National Media's Bad Steelers Takes
ESPN’s Dan Graziano published an article detailing some potential cap casualties in the 2021 offseason. Due to their cap situation, it was no surprise that some Pittsburgh Steelers were mentioned.
Ben Roethlisberger was the main Steeler mentioned in the article. Graziano made some good points regarding Roethlisberger’s contract, but he missed the mark with his main argument.
Graziano went on to explain some other potential cuts for the Steelers next offseason, one of which was Stephon Tuitt, which was Graziano’s worst take on the Steelers in the article.
The section on Roethlisberger started by saying, “it’s possible Roethlisberger retires and saves the team the headache” and went onto say, “it’s hard to see the Steelers bringing him back on his current contract.”
Graziano is correct about the latter point. With Roethlisberger set to have a cap hit of $41 million next offseason, his contract will be modified. The idea that Roethlisberger could retire, though, doesn’t make much sense. It has been a talking point all season for the national sports media.
What has Roethlisberger showed this year that makes these pundits think he will retire after the season? He is playing some of the best football of his career and the team is 9-0. It’s not like they are winning despite him.
A contract extension to lower Roethlisberger’s cap hit for the 2021 season is the far more likely option. No one was talking about a potential extension prior to this season. Despite numerous reports that Roethlisberger felt great and was expected to fully recover from his surgery, the pundits were convinced that he wouldn’t be the same and the team would suffer.
Now, it seems like they are stubborn. They don’t want to admit they were wrong, so they’re sticking to the idea that he should retire after the season. It’s nonsense, and nothing that we have seen suggests that it will be the case.
The article went onto talk about the Steelers having several other free agents after the season, including Bud Dupree and JuJu Smith-Schuster. This goes along with a T.J. Watt mega-extension that will be coming.
If they want to keep some of their key free agents, how could they go about paying for it? Cutting Stephon Tuitt is one potential option, according to Graziano. The move “would save Pittsburgh about $5.6 million in 2021 cap space.”
Yes, you read that correctly. There's the idea out there that cutting Stephon Tuitt to save just over $5.5 million is a route the Steelers could potentially take.
While the take on Roethlisberger is getting the attention, this take on Tuitt is far worse. At least Graziano was correct that Roethlisberger won’t be under his current contract next year. But to even pretend the team would consider cutting Tuitt to save that little in cap space doesn't fit their blueprint.
The way things are going now, Stephon Tuitt’s name will appear beside Aaron Donald as a first-team All-Pro for interior defensive linemen. Aside from Watt, Tuitt has been the best player on Pittsburgh’s defense. The team wouldn’t come anywhere close to replacing Tuitt’s production with $5.6 million.
Put it in stone; there’s a 0% chance that the Steelers cut Stephon Tuitt this offseason.
To be fair, Graziano didn’t write this article as predictions for next offseason. He wasn’t saying that we should expect the Steelers to cut Roethlisberger or Tuitt. But to even list them as potential cuts comes off as uninformed or unfamiliar with the team.
Steelers fans often get fired up about pieces like this, but this week has been full of them. So, the frustration among the fan base is justified.
Chris Simms listed his top ten quarterbacks in the league, and Roethlisberger was nowhere to be found. ESPN released a list of the top ten rookies, and Chase Claypool was a glaring omission from the list. Pro Football Focus, to go with their commitment to not giving Roethlisberger his credit, released a version of their power rankings that had the Ravens ahead of the Steelers.
Now, add this take from Graziano to the list. The national media seems to be on a different page from the rest of us when it comes to the Steelers this year.