Report: Ben Roethlisberger intends on playing for Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 at age 39

The (Greensburg) Tribune Review (TNS)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Heading into Monday night's game, Ben Roethlisberger sat seventh in career NFL passing yards, eighth in touchdowns and fifth in QB wins. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback reportedly will look to add to his totals next season.

According to an ESPN report, Roethlisberger intends on returning to the Steelers in 2021. That would be the 18th NFL season for the then-39-year-old.

Roethlisberger is due $19 million in cash if he plays next season under the final year of his current contract, per The team and quarterback, though, could restructure the deal to alleviate what is scheduled to be a $41.25 million cap hit. As the contract stands now, if Roethlisberger retired (or was released) the Steelers would have to account for $22.25 million in "dead money" on their salary cap.

Roethlisberger had publicly flirted with the idea of retirement before, and he is coming off elbow surgery that cost him all but six quarters of his 2019 season. But the two-time Super Bowl winner has repeatedly remarked this season at how much fun he is having and how much he enjoys his teammates.

At 11-2, the Steelers are likely positioned for a No. 2 or 3 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Heading into Week 15, Roethlisberger led the NFL in pass attempts (521) and was fifth in touchdown passes (29) through 14 games. But he was 20th in passer rating (94.9) and 31st in yards per attempt (6.3) in directing an offense that has been increasingly dependent on a short passing game of quick throws.

Roethlisberger's top backup is Mason Rudolph, who had an 82.0 rating and 5-3 record as the Steelers' starter last season.