(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Last Thursday it was finalized that Ben Roethlisberger would be back for an 18th season with the Steelers as he signed a new contract and took a $5 million pay cut. He'll make $14 million and save the team more than $15 million in salary-cap space in 2021. The new deal includes a $12.925 million signing bonus, a $1.075 million base salary and four voidable years to push a $10.36 million cap hit into 2022.
According to Peter King in his Football Morning In America column, the contract that Roethlisberger signed with the Steelers last week includes some phony voidable years, and the deal voids five days after Super Bowl LVI. With his deal voiding five days after the Super Bowl, it pretty much guarantees that this will be Roethlisberger's last season with the Steelers.
So, what would have happened if the Steelers released or traded Roethlisberger because they wanted to save $19 million in cap space or if the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback didn't want to take a $5 million pay cut? Would he have had any suitors?
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Bears had at least some interest in the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Canfora states that Chicago had “internal discussions” about pursuing Roethlisberger before the Steelers brought him back on a new contract. It's unclear how interested the Bears were in Roethlisberger, but La Canfora believes Chicago would have been the only landing spot for him had he not agreed to take a $5 million pay cut to stay with the Steelers.
La Canfora also said that Chicago was pretty serious about trading for Carson Wentz, but the Colts beat them out on it. The Bears made a massive mistake by drafting Mitch Tribusky at second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft over quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, and they're now paying the prices for it.
Like mentioned, it's unclear how interested the Bears were in Roethlisberger, but it seems like they're pretty desperate for a quarterback. Who knows if Roethlisberger would have wanted to play in Chicago either. What a weird site that would have been to see Big Ben in a Bears uniform. The Bears play the Steelers at Heinz Field in 2021 and it's good to know that Roethlisberger will be in his standard black and gold instead of the navy blue and burnt orange.