(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Longtime NFL analyst and writer John Clayton was on 93.7 The Fan last week and surprisingly said that he thinks Ben Roethlisberger at the age of 39 will play for two more years.
Most analysts and fans are under the assumption that 2021 will be the final ride for Roethlisberger. But one national sports analyst agrees with Clayton's assessment on Roethlisberger playing for at least two more years, and that's Skip Bayless of FS1. Bayless actually thinks Roethlisberger can play for three more years.
Bayless says he's known Clayton for years and that when he says two more years for Roethlisberger, he fully believes it.
"So, Ben Roethlisberger is 39 years of age, if I'm Pittsburgh, I'm trusting him and I would root for him to play three more years," Bayless said on "Undisputed" earlier this week. "Because I believe if he rededicated, he's capable of playing three more years. Because you know what? He knows how to play that position. He has instincts that are right up there with Brady's except he's got the bigger body and he's gotten away with brushing off pass rushers, creating time and space in the pocket just because he's such a huge naturally strong human being. I'm not talking about weight room strong, it's almost like country strong."
Roethlisberger got major elbow surgery in September of 2019 and Bayless thinks having the second year of recovery might help him in 2021.
"What if it was just the elbow surgery, and you just on sheer rest through the offseason you come back with a stronger arm that you trust more just because time healed it," Bayless said of Roethlisberger's elbow. "Maybe you don't rededicate. Maybe you don't work out any hard than you used to work out, but you always got away with it because you just know how to play the position. His instincts are of the highest order to me. He gets it. He sees it and feels it."
Bayless' co-host Shannon Sharpe just doesn't see a situation where Roethlisberger's arm gets stronger and he pushes the ball down the field. Roethlisberger averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt in 2020, which was the lowest of his career minus the 2019 season when he played just six quarters.
To help the 39-year-old quarterback, Bayless thinks the Steelers need to select a top-tier running back in the draft.
"(Roethlisberger) will be better if they can draft a running back of the highest order," Bayless said. "Like Najee Harris, they have to. It's just sitting on a platter for them. ... Your first priority is to draft a running back. And Najee Harris would be qualified with that pick. It would be worth that pick."