With Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s future with the team still uncertain, former general manager and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum is not sold on the 38-year-old returning in 2021.
Joining ESPN’s Get Up on Monday, Tannenbaum said the Steelers would be “stopping progress” if the bring back Roethlisberger next season. He instead believes the organization should trade up in the April’s draft to select their quarterback of the future in the first round.
Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum on @espn: “If the Steelers bring back Big Ben, they’ll be stopping progress….they have to trade up and draft a QB in the 1st round.”— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 22, 2021
Roethlisberger owns the league’s largest cap hit at over $41 million, which poses a significant problem for the cap-strapped Steelers. He could forgo up to $19 million of his salary for this upcoming season to provide the team much needed flexibility.
Roethlisberger finished the 2020 campaign with commendable statistics, but was plagued by inconsistency, as the Steelers finished the season 1-5 after a 11-0 start.
He passed for 3,803 yards and 33 touchdowns with ten interceptions, but saw his play drop over the latter half of the year.
Roethlisberger has expressed a desire to come back, but Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert indicated last week that substantial negotiations have not begun yet, and that they will ask the 18-year veteran to take a significant pay cut.
If the Steelers are hoping to draft their heir apparent, Tannenbaum is likely correct in his assessment that they would have to trade up. With the No. 24-overall pick, Pittsburgh would probably miss out on the top quarterbacks in this year’s class.
If they do select a quarterback, it would be the first signal caller they have drafted in the first round since Roethlisberger in 2004.