(Photo by Al Tielemans/Getty Images)
Former Steelers cornerback and Hall of Famer Rod Woodson was on 93.7 The Fan on Monday, and one of the main topics of the interview was the big news that broke last week that the Steelers signed Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract and he'll be back for an 18th season with the team.
Woodson said he "loves" that Roethlisberger is coming back for another year and called him a "lifer." The Hall of Famer also credited Roethlisberger for not caring about the money and taking a $5 million pay cut. Roethlisberger will make $14 million and save the team more than $15 million in salary-cap space in 2021.
"Ben has enough money, right? He has enough money," Woodson said. "These players nowadays have enough money, and he wants to play under the same colors his whole career, which is great, and he's going to do so. I would probably think he'd probably retire after next year, but (at) least it's a gap for the Steelers that he can come back and they bridge that gap that they don't have to replace one of the main cogs in their offense in Ben."
Chris Muller asked Woodson what he would be thinking back in his playing days if he was going up against a future Hall of Fame quarterback like Roethlisberger and he wasn't taking deep shots downfield. Roethlisberger averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt in 2020, the lowest of his career when playing more than two games (2019 season).
"I don't care if it was a Hall of Famer or who it was, if he wasn't throwing the ball downfield, I'm sitting on all my routes," Woodson responded. "So, I mean, that's just the way it is. And that's what happened to them. And it happened more so because they couldn't run the ball efficiently and constantly throughout the whole year. They had spurts where they did and it looked good, but then they just couldn't maintain that throughout a game, the whole game. And then they had to rely back on Ben throwing the football, and it's unfortunate. I mean, I think they threw for over 70 percent of the time, which is unheard of in the National Football League. So, you got to have some balance. If you're only doing one thing, that just bodes well for the defense."
Many analysts believe that the 39-year-old Roethlisberger is now the worst quarterback in the AFC North, but Woodson thinks he just needs a running game to help him out and he'll be fine.
"Listen, the one thing when you learn and gain knowledge, you lose skill as you get older, that's a forgiven from any human being that walks just in a normal job. You're going to lose your skillset, but he still understands the game. He's seen everything the defense can throw at him, and he can make his checks and get out of it," Woodson said. "Now, he needs a running game to go with it. I mean, if you put a running game with Ben and that defense, I know we have a lot of free agents for the Steelers this year, more than normal. But if they can try to keep the main cog of those guys and have a running game, this is a solid football team again next year."