In his interview with TMZ Sports, former Pittsburgh Steeler Ike Taylor was very candid when discussing the idea of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning for another season.
You're setting them back a year or two or three (with a comeback). The reason why I think you're setting them back is because you've seen the progression in Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow -- before he got hurt -- and Baker Mayfield."
Though Roethlisberger remains the elder statesman of the AFC North, what cannot be denied is the new wave of young, talented quarterbacks who have emerged in the last two seasons. Beyond this idea, from a performance standpoint, it became evident that age had affected his mobility and his ability to throw the football effectively, as his team was a dismal 1-5 during the latter portion of the season.
The game that encapsulated his declined this past season, was their Wildcard
Playoff game, in which he threw four interceptions, despite accumulating over 500 passing yards, in a losing cause against the Cleveland Browns. Following this performance, many had suggested that Roethlisberger's time had runout.
Yet, the competitor that is Roethlisberger, made it clear that he did not want to end his career on such a sour note, and expressed his willingness to take a pay cut in order to return for a final season. Taylor himself, suggested that the idea of a return under these terms would be idea, considering the few options the team currently has at the quarterback position.
If Ben truly is willing to take a massive pay cut to stay under center in the black and gold, the Steelers don't have much of a choice other than to bring him back.
Perhaps the real question is if the organization is ready to have him back, as he sets to meet with them this week, to discuss his future and his contract, that is expected to cost them a $41.2 million cap hit. No matter the outcome, it is going to be one of the most important discussions in franchise history. One that will inevitably reshape this franchise for years to come.