(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
It's been harped on all offseason, but many are skeptical about the Steelers in 2021, especially in regards to 39-year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Bleacher Report believes the Steelers are facing a make-or-break season in 2021, and it centers around Roethlisberger, as it will be most likely his final season and last chance to make a run at another Super Bowl.
"The clock on Big Ben continues to tick," Chris Roling of Bleacher Report wrote. "Now 39 and working with a surgically repaired throwing elbow, Ben Roethlisberger is in what appears to be his final year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It doesn't help that last year a win-now core went a fluky 11-0 to start the season before finishing 1-4 down the stretch. The final game was a brutal loss to the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs.
"From that vantage point, things already seem to be declining. The Steelers lost franchise linebacker Bud Dupree in free agency and cut offensive line mainstay David DeCastro, so one could argue Big Ben might have to do more of the heavy lifting than usual."
If the Steelers were to hit rock bottom in 2021 and have their first losing season since 2003, it will be clear that the Steelers should move on from Roethlisberger and find the heir apparent for him. They'll also have ample salary cap space in 2022 to rebuild the roster at other positions, as well.
"Should Roethlisberger falter, the Steelers are positioned to have about $76 million in free cap space in 2022," Roling wrote. "That's prime rebuild territory if the franchise quarterback doesn't return and assets like JuJu Smith-Schuster choose to play elsewhere in free agency.
"Granted, much will hinge on draft positioning and whether the front office truly feels Mason Rudolph can be the long-term answer under center. Either way, this looks like the swan song of the Big Ben era."