When will Ben Roethlisberger retire? What Steelers’ QB has said about future beyond 2021 NFL season

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Ben Roethlsiberger was selected in the 2004 NFL Draft. He has outlasted the other quarterbacks from that draft class, most notably, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, and is one of the oldest quarterbacks in the NFL right now.

In fact, only one is older than he is. That would be Tom Brady, a 44-year-old ageless wonder.

While Roethlisberger has had longevity, his time in the NFL may soon come to an end. He is starting to age and over the last couple of seasons, he has regressed while dealing with a variety of nagging injuries, including an elbow problem that cost him almost the entire 2019 NFL season.

As such, it seems like Roethlisberger will opt to retire soon. Could it come in 2021? There has been speculation that the current NFL season could be his last. After all, he has just one year left on his contract, and it’s not like he’s playing at a high level. So, why not call it quits?

When will Roethlisberger retire? Here’s what we know so far about his future plans.

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Will Ben Roethlisberger retire after the 2021 NFL season?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday, Dec. 4 that Roethlisberger has privately told some former teammates and members of the Steelers organization that this will be his last season.

Here’s what Schefter wrote about Big Ben’s potential retirement:

Roethlisberger has not made any such public proclamations, and likely won’t, since he doesn’t want the latter part of the season to be about him as Pittsburgh tries to make a playoff push.

 

But sources say he and those within the organization are now operating as if he is entering the final five games of his Hall of Fame career, with two of them fittingly coming against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh’s opponent Sunday and in the final regular-season game.

So, it looks like the 2021 season could mark the end of Roethlisberger’s storied career with the Steelers. That said, the veteran quarterback and two-time Super Bowl winner was, unsurprisingly, mum about his future when asked about Schefter’s report following the Steelers’ 20-19 win over the Ravens in Week 13.

“I haven’t told everybody that,” he said with a laugh. “Honestly, we just got done with this game. I’m exhausted. We played a couple hours it feels like, so that’s my focus. My focus is on Minnesota (the Steelers play the Vikings on Thursday night) and what we have to do to get ready. I’ll address any of that stuff after the season. I’ve always been a one-game-at-a-time, one-season-at-a-time person.”

If Roethlisberger were a Magic 8-Ball, that answer would be the equivalent of an “ask again later” roll. That’s not surprising at all because, as Schefter reported, he doesn’t want to make the end of the season about him. Or worse, become a distraction.

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How old is Ben Roethlisberger?

Roethlisberger turned 39 in March. He has spent his entire career with the Steelers since being a first-round draft pick in 2004. He is playing in his 18th season and has made six Pro Bowls and twice led the NFL in passing yards (2014 and 2018).

Big Ben is currently the fourth-oldest active player in the NFL. He ranks second-highest among quarterbacks behind only Tom Brady.

Oldest active NFL players

Rank Player Position Team Age
1 Tom Brady Quarterback Buccaneers 44
2 Andrew Whitworth Offensive tackle Rams 39
3 Jason Peters Offensive tackle Bears 39
4 Ben Roethlisberger Quarterback Steelers 39
5 Andy Lee Punter Cardinals 39

Ben Roethlisberger contract

Roethlisberger has just one year left on his contract. He renegotiated his deal before the 2021 NFL season into a one-year, $14 million pact. That created some extra cap space for the Steelers and allowed them to re-sign some key contributors, like JuJu Smith-Schuster, in free agency.

Roethlisberger actually further aided the Steelers by deferring some of his money to count against the 2022 salary cap. That deferral created a “void year” during which Roethlisberger has a cap hit of $10.34 million. However, that doesn’t add any new money to his deal. It’s just an accounting trick that helped the Steelers upgrade their roster around Big Ben.

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Ben Roethlisberger net worth, career earnings

Whether Roethlisberger retires after this season or opts to play again, his net worth will be through the roof. CelebrityNetWorth.com lists Roethlsiberger’s net worth at $100 million.

During his career, Roethlisberger has logged nearly $265.6 million in career earnings, per OverTheCap.com. He has agreed to five contracts with the Steelers during his career, one entry-level deal as a rookie, three lucrative extensions worth at least $68 million in total value and one restructured deal for 2021.





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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.