Why Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger is leaning toward NFL retirement after 2021 season

The 2021-22 season is likely Ben Roethlisberger’s last season on the field, although he has yet to make it official.

The 39-year-old Steelers quarterback has spent his entire 18-year career in Pittsburgh. This is the longest period a player has been on a team in NFL history. Roethlisberger was selected in the 2004 NFL Draft as the 11th overall pick. Since then, he has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers. There have been rumors for a few years about Roethlisberger’s retirement, but the 2021-22 season could be the final one.

While Roethlisberger has yet to officially confirm his retirement, he has continued to hint at it this season. Ahead of the Steelers’ Week 17 showdown with the Browns, which is speculated to be Roethlisberger’s last game in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger said “this could be it.”

But, besides age, there are other reasons that have affected Roethlisberger’s likely retirement, including this one of his worst seasons statistically in his career.

Will Ben Roethlisberger retire after the 2021 season?

Roethlisberger has yet to make a final decision on his retirement, but, as he said, all “signs are pointing in that direction.” Here’s your full quote on retirement for Thursday, December 30.

“I never speak definitively or guaranteed, that’s not what I’ve ever done, or what I am, but looking at the big picture, I’d say all signs point that this could be it. Regular. I mean, I know we still have the possibility of getting a playoff game there if things go our way and they take care of business, things have to happen, “said Roethlisberger, via ESPN. “But in the grand scheme of things, in regular season terms, the signs are pointing in that direction, which could be this.”

The Steelers’ Week 17 matchup against the Browns at Heinz Field will likely be Roethlisberger’s last home game of his career. The Steelers will play the Ravens in Week 18, which could be their last game in the NFL if the Steelers don’t make the playoffs.

Ben Roethlisberger’s 2021 Season Stats

* Roethlisberger’s stats are reflected over 16 weeks and 14 games started this season.

The 2021-22 season is actually one of Roethlisberger’s worst seasons statistically. In his 18-year career, he has only had one other losing record (not including his 0-2 season in 2019 after he was out due to a right elbow injury), which was his 7-8 record in 2006. In 2013, the Steelers finished with an 8-8 record. If the Steelers lose one or two more games, this would only be Roethlisberger’s second losing season. If he loses both games, it will be his worst record at 7-9-1. Roethlisberger has only missed the playoffs six times, and this season could be his seventh. However, the Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since 2016.

In terms of statistics, Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,373 yards this season, ranking 13th in the NFL thus far. He threw about 100 yards less than that in 2012, but started only 13 games. On top of that, he only threw 20 touchdowns this season, which is his lowest level since 2010 when he only threw 17.

On the positive side, Roethlisberger has only thrown eight interceptions this season, marking only the fifth time he’s thrown under 10. However, there are still two games left on the season.

One of Roethlisberger’s biggest weaknesses this season is getting fired. So far, he’s been sacked 35 times, which puts him fifth-highest in the NFL this season so far. Between the years 2006-2011, Roethlisberger was fired consistently 40 to 50 times. But, in the last decade, that number has decreased more and more. Last season, Roethlisberger was only sacked 13 times, for example. Additionally, Roethlisberger has caused 10 fumbles, which is only the second time he’s had double-digit fumbles in a season.

Surprisingly, Roethlisberger has the fastest pitching time in the NFL this season at an average of 2.37 seconds.

Ben Roethlisberger’s Contract

The timing of Roethlisberger’s contract is another reason this season is probably his last. The 2021-22 season was the last year of his contract after he renegotiated a deal before the 2021 season. His contract is a one-year, $ 14 million deal, which was a pay cut for him. He took the cut so the Steelers could have some room to keep players like JuJu Smith-Schuster on the team.

On top of that, Roethlisberger deferred some of his money to count against the 2022 salary cap creating a “null year.” Roethlisberger’s ceiling reaches $ 10.34 million during the null year.