Is Ben Roethlisberger’s heart still in it?

Getty Images

His post-game comments seemed more sarcastic than serious, but Sunday’s five-pick performance from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, combined with his subpar play through five games, invites one specific question regarding the current state of his career: If he wouldn’t have owed the Steelers $18.6 million in previously-paid bonus money, would he have retired after the 2016 season?

Of course, Roethlisberger also would have given up $12 million in salary for 2017. But it’s one thing to not earn money you don’t have; it’s quite another to surrender cash that’s already in the coffers. (Anyone who pays quarterly taxes can relate to that remark.)

If it’s a fair question, it’s a question that won’t be going away. If Roethlisberger retires after 2017, he’ll owe $12.4 million. If he retires after 2018, he’ll owe $6.2 million. That’s one of the basic realities of signing a five-year deal with a $31 million signing bonus. It’s not free money. It’s advance pay based on five years of service. If the guy retires before playing the full five years, the team can demand repayment.

The question becomes whether the Steelers would want the money back. On one hand, why wouldn’t they? It wasn’t earned. On the other hand, well, why wouldn’t they? It wasn’t earned.

Of course, if Roethlisberger regresses, the Steelers won’t want to chase unearned bonus money with non-guaranteed salaries of $12 million in each of the next three years. For now, his passer rating is 75.4. Over a full season, that would be his lowest since 2006.

The question then would be whether the Steelers believe they have a viable alternative. Whether or not they currently (or eventually) do in Joshua Dobbs, it’s an issue that quickly is moving toward the top of the team’s long-term to-do list.

52 responses to “Is Ben Roethlisberger’s heart still in it?

  1. Who cares? The big question is whether Boswell’s heart is still in it. He’s the only one scoring.

  2. These tragic millionaires. The heavy weight of being rich and famous. My heart bleeds for them.

  3. If heart = manhood and it = college strange…then yes. His “heart is in it”. Well done PFT

  4. Brady is 70 years old and is getting sacked four times on every play and he still has the fire.

  5. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers management talked him into playing this year even though his heart wasn’t in it. This is definitely his last year and may have told the FO. May explain why they acted so out of character signing multiple free agents at the end of camp to go all in. This year BR looks like he doesn’t have any patience for extended drives and just wants to either score ASAP or get off the field and punt. He looks to Brown nearly every passing play which is not a recipe for long term success. His preparation has never been good and has probably gotten worse this year.

  6. Tomlin wasted the last ten years, he had the talent to win championships but didn’t. Look what some of the young new coaches are doing with teams tha underperformed prior to their arrival.

  7. fifel1144 says:
    October 8, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Tomlin wasted the last ten years, he had the talent to win championships but didn’t. Look what some of the young new coaches are doing with teams tha underperformed prior to their arrival.
    —————————————————————————————–
    I’m not going to try to argue that Tomlin is a good coach – I think he’s about average – but I think saying he had the talent to win championships is absurd. They have a few good players who get tons of ink for very little actual on field performance. The rest of the team is average and looks that way whenever they play an important game.

  8. After the way the Raiders whole offense laid down on him, last week.

    (“If he wants to stand alone, he can stand alone on the field.)”

    Derek Carr might be available.

  9. Forget Ben and all the people who cater to this guy … He and the so called Elite Steeler Offense got Dhut Down by the Jaguars Defense … Plain and Simple … Nobody layed down , 3-1 riding high Steelers Team just got heir tails whipped in their own building. Jaguars D is top 5 and their Secondary is the Best in the League … Just ask the Steelers recievers … Other than a push off 49 yard catch by Anotnio Brown in the 1rst half … What did they really do in the passing game ??? Nothing just garbage stats that’s all …If the refs don’t hand an overtime win to the Jets last week … Jaguars would be 4-1 … So make no mistake about it … Go Jaguars !!!

  10. Why would a team throw the ball 55 times against what at that point was the best pass defense in the NFL…statistics wise. Aren’t statistics the lifeblood of NFL coaches?

  11. I’m not a Steelers fan but this all seems a bit over the top. Roethlisberger had an identically bad passer rating against Buffalo last year. It just happened to be W sandwiched into the middle of a 6 game winning streak. Inexplicably bad games happen from time to time even to HoF’ers. If anyone has some ‘splaining to do it’s Haley and Tomlin, what the hell was with that game plan? The Jags run D is terrible, they should have saddled up Bell and ridden him all day.

  12. I think he’s lost some of the joy in playing the game. His favorite coach, Bruce Arians, was run out of town and replaced by a guy (Todd Haley) he hasn’t seemed particularly close to but, rather, tolerates. And Haley sucks (by the way). His favorite teammates (Bettis, Max Starks, Heath Miller, Bret Keisel) are all gone. They’ve been replaced by a cast of me-first divas.

    Take Le’Veon Bell and his laughably outrageous contract demands. When he’s not suspended for weed or hurt, he’s scoffing at $12-million a year contract offers. Then he decides to bail on his teammates all of July and August then show up and ball out for forty yards a game and will be begging teams to offer him $12-mill this offseason.

    Martavis Bryant? Yeah. The consummate professional. Suspended an entire year for weed. Getting high > doing your job.

    And Antonio Brown? Tossing a Gatorade bucket because he felt like he was open and his quarterback missed him? Seriously?? Sitting on Facebook Live for over a half-hour in the locker room as your team is huddled up in the other room while your coach is addressing the team? Interesting that Ryan Clark (known for being a great locker room guy) referenced Antonio Brown having “fooled” the media into thinking he was a team player recently.

    So for a team that has been tight-knit and thrived under a ‘Band of Brothers’ mentality, this team seems to have the wrong personalities/characters in place to find the success they should be having.

    Oh, add the entire anthem debacle and a guy like Ben, an avid supporter of law enforcement (his primary charitable efforts are steered towards providing police forces with police dogs), like so many people in this country, just seem to lose a little bit of interest in this game we love.

    As a die-hard Steelers fan, I hope we turn it around, but Ben seems to have all of the passion and fire that Bill Cowher had in his final season with the team when it was evident he had mentally checked out.

  13. It was a really bad game for Big Ben, but he hasn’t played well yet this season. Given he has contemplated retirement after last season, it’s a fair question whether he’s just in it for the money. Whatever the case, the Steelers need a new starting QB next season. They’re not going anywhere with Roethlisberger anymore.

  14. truthprofessor says:
    October 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm
    Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers suddenly all look old.

    Not Tom Brady, though.
    ——
    Not sure if this is a joke. I watched Brady on Thursday for the first time in a long time. My only reaction was how old he looked. He’s showing every bit of 40. This from a Ravens fan.

  15. Might be time to take Old Yeller out back and give him the business. His bad play on the road the last few years has just morphed into bad play, period. I can’t see Dobbs being a good NFL QB, but he did have that dummy Butch Jones coaching him, so anything is possible.

  16. I’m as big a Steeler fan as there is, and I have come to the conclusion that there are just too many Divas on the team. They create too many distractions, and when coupled with the lack of coaching talent, it is a recipe for disaster. Whatever happened to just playing the damn game? The season is not lost, the next 3 weeks will tell the tale. If they look like garbage in those games, let’s see what the rookie can do…imo.

  17. The issue? They probably didn’t prepare for the Jags, thinking the game was a gimme. That’s the vibe I get from this team. They don’t take all games seriously thus why they tend to play down to their opponents.

  18. If only the team could get him back to the super bowl so his career could come full circle. Come into the league being handed a Title from the zebras while playing like crap…..go out being given a parting title by the zebras while playing the same way.

  19. jedimasterbates says:
    October 8, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Another Tomlin loss to a lesser opponent
    ————————————————————————————
    Steeler fans keep saying this. You do realize that Jacksonville destroyed Houston and Baltimore even worse than they beat the Steelers? This is a good team that might be playing late in January.

  20. JR FLY says:
    October 8, 2017 at 8:29 pm
    Jaguars Secondary want 5 RothBurgers to go please … Thanks
    ————————
    LOL. But your wrong on what type of burgers they were, they were Rothless burgers, there wasn’t any roth in them.

  21. Kapernick would look good in a steelers uniform…and the steelers need to get back to being the cheap shot artists they are known to be…..

  22. trainwrecksryan says:

    Brady is 70 years old and is getting sacked four times on every play and he still has the fire.

    ——————————————————————————-
    Roethlisberger’s a tremendous talent and the Steelers are lucky to have had a QB of his caliber all these years. But since he didn’t have Brady’s work ethic at 22, I don’t think he’ll suddenly develop that kind of passion at 35. I’ll settle for him giving the retirement talk a rest (either do it or shut up about it) and working to get his offense in sync.

  23. I don’t think it would hurt too much if Mr Rooney would stop this blind loyalty stuff and open his eyes and take a good hard look at his coaching staff.

  24. All this talent, and I believe he is mentally exhausted. Martavis Bryant lied to him about his drug use it was told. Antonio Brown is making podcasts in locker room while head coach addressing team post-game. Antonio Brown attacking water cooler cause Ben happens to miss him when he was open (never mind Ben targets him 15 times per game). Running Back Bell holds out and doesn’t make it to camp. Bell gets suspended twice. The guy has 3 children and a beautiful wife and tons of money. Who would want to continue to be around that garbage? And then there is Tomlin.

  25. The lack of discipline, of strategy and group think is quite evident on this team.
    They lack the qualities of winners. That is why they often tank on the road. They ride emotion and talent, but too often, dumb penalties, mistakes, cost them.

    This is not a winning atmosphere. Just look at what is really going on here. If Billichick or Andy Reid had this team, they would be steamrolling folks.

  26. I think it’s obvious Ben was very sarcastic in his post game obligatory press conference interview. He was embarrassed and would rather some where else hence the clipped responses. That being said not all the Int were his fault but everyone forgets that. Under Tomlin the team usually starts slow morphing into a late season winning product. I think jumping ship on Ben is an over reaction and disrespectful of a player who has given so much to Steeler nation. Let’s not eat our young like Patriot fans do over a bad game. Tomlin has shown he can rally the team after a bad loss……too early to act like spoiled Patriot fanboys.

  27. jcjaguar says:
    October 9, 2017 at 7:01 am
    That’s right…..he doesn’t have it anymore…

    BECAUSE THE JAGS DEFENSE TOOK IT FROM HIM!!!

    3 4 Rate This

    Relax sonny your Def had a GREAT,game……ONE….if you can count that high a season does not make. Win a Lombardi first….so just relax.

  28. Nofoolnodrool says:

    October 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Relax sonny your Def had a GREAT,game……ONE….if you can count that high a season does not make. Win a Lombardi first….so just relax.

    First of all, I ain’t your sonny. Second….you just go right on living in the past. Third….the Jags have had more than one GREAT defensive game this season.

  29. Truth be told, even Tom GOAT Brady will go down in the relatively near future. But what has always made him different from Rothlisburger, Manning, even Montana and all other QBs is MORE GUTS – Brady will go down swinging, hard.

  30. bubbahotepp ,

    Yeah, it’s the coaches causing your QB to throw pick sixes and miss wide open receivers. Better get behind him and yell harder. That will fix it. Also, funny how all of those “Arians should have been coach and we would be winning 5 straight Super Bowl” mantras piped down since the Cardinals stink for the same reasons the Steelers have struggles, players. Roethlisberger is fried. He hasn’t played well yet this year, and that’s the whole of most of their problems besides their RB deciding to get back into game shape on the fly after taking the off-season off. Their defense has been giving up like 17 points a game without the Roethlisberger and offensive struggles, so you might want to squarely blame him since many of you morons are so quick to prop him up like he’s Tom Brady to explain how Tomlin has won so many games through a complete defensive rebuild, no coaching needed. Roethlisberger carried everybody all those years, lol.

  31. Just all part of the plan to have the greatest 30 for 30 ever – “#7’s Journey to #7”

  32. @Deb – Roethlisberger’s a tremendous talent and the Steelers are lucky to have had a QB of his caliber all these years. But since he didn’t have Brady’s work ethic at 22, I don’t think he’ll suddenly develop that kind of passion at 35. I’ll settle for him giving the retirement talk a rest (either do it or shut up about it) and working to get his offense in sync.

    Please come down off your high horse . . . no one has Brady’s work ethic, however, Ben has come a long way since the early years. That being said, it’s time to look at the coaching staff: whoever laid out that game plan for the offense has to have their head examined . . . and Butler is hands down the worst defensive coordinator – and Tomlin has lost all control of this team. Brown should have sat a quarter.

    and while the Jags do have a great defense, they won’t go deep in the playoffs because they really don’t have a good enough QB, Bortles isn’t even a game manager like Alex Smith.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!