Former Teammate Says Steelers Holding Themselves Back With Big Ben Return

One of Ben Roethlisberger's longtime former teammates believes the Pittsburgh Steelers are holding themselves on for not moving on from the veteran quarterback.

Former cornerback Ike Taylor, who was teammates with Roethlisberger during the quarterback's first 11 seasons in Pittsburgh, told Dave Dameshek on the Minus 3 podcast that he believes it's time for the organization to move on.

"We measure success off of winning or hoisting Lombardi Trophies," Taylor said. "That hasn't been the case. And how I look at things now, not only as a player, but I look at things like a general manager. Like, what would I do if I'm Kevin Colbert?"

Taylor acknowledged that the Steelers' division rivals have all invested in franchise quarterbacks through the NFL Draft, while Pittsburgh will rely on Roethlisberger, 39, enters his 18th season.

"You go on and put in Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins, you let them two boys fight it out right now, and may the best man win," Taylor said. "Now they're gonna get experience. And the reason I'm saying this, you're giving them experience, now you're not holding the organization back off the decision-making you decide to make."

"Then on top of that, they don't have a bad defense," Taylor added. "Them boys got a good defense right now. So you might as well get a young quarterback in right now with a good defense, don't ask him to do too much, go out and tighten up your offensive line, get you a running back or two, now we got action."

Roethlisberger and the Steelers agreed on a new contract for the 2021 season, the Steelers announced on their official website Thursday (March 4.)

"It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization," Roethlisberger said in a news release. "I am grateful to be at this stage of my career and more than happy to adjust my contract in a way that best helps the team to address other players who are so vital to our success. I love this game and love to compete, and I believe in this team and my ability to deliver when called upon. It all starts with great preparation and I am ready to go."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Roethlisberger's new contract includes a $12.925 million signing bonus, a $1.075 million base salary and "four voidable years to spread out the cap hit," which would technically make it a deal through 2025, voiding after the season.

"So, 1 year, $14M with a greatly reduced cap hit," Rapoport tweeted.

In February, Steelers team president Art Rooney II confirmed he met with Roethlisberger and both sides plan to continue discussing adjustments to the veteran quarterback's contract situation.

"Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting" Rooney said in the statement shared by Steelers Director of Communications Burt Lauten. "We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go. Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship. We both understand the next step is to work out Ben's contract situation."

Roethlisberger was in the final year of his previous deal, which included a $41.2 million cap hit, ESPN reported.

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