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2021 NFL Retirement Odds – Will Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, or Philip Rivers Hang Them Up?

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks past the bench after throwing an interception late in the forth quarter during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
  • Since their seasons have ended, there’s been plenty of chatter about a couple veteran NFL quarterbacks hanging up the cleats
  • Alex Smith, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger all were on losing teams over the weekend in Super Wild Card weekend in the NFL
  • See the odds on if any or all of these quarterbacks are set to call it a career below

A few high profile veteran quarterbacks are ready for the offseason after their respective teams were knocked out of the playoffs this past weekend.

Washington’s Alex Smith, Indianapolis’ Philip Rivers and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger are all officially on vacation after their teams came up short in wild card action.

There’s a lot more at stake with these three, as rumors have been flying that the word “retirement” has been bantered about regarding these three long time throwers.

From the perspective of success, all three have been very good over the years, but father time never loses, and it might be time for them to start thinking about life after football.

Odds to Retire Before Start of 2021 NFL season

Name Odds
Alex Smith Yes (+110) / No (-135)
Ben Roethlisberger Yes (+275) / No (-450)
Philip Rivers Yes (+225) / No (-350)

Odds as of Jan. 12th, 2020

Alex Smith

  • Age: 36, signed through 2022 season

Alex Smith was the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of the college of Utah.

He’s had an up and down career which has included time with the Niners, Kansas City Chiefs and now Washington Football Team.

Smith’s NFL story took a serious turn in November of 2018 when playing at home against the Houston Texans. He suffered a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg following a sack.

The quarterback over the next nine months developed life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis that resulted in sepsis which required him to undergo 17 surgeries.

Many never felt he would be back. But return he did in 2020, and he was a driving force in helping Washington win the NFC East.

In eight games, six starts in 2020, Smith threw six touchdowns with eight interceptions carrying a quarterback rating of 78.5.

It’s hard to think of anyone else being the “Comeback Player of the Year” in the NFL. But on the other hand, Smith has been an inspiration to many this year, and before he suffers anymore injuries that might be life-threatening he should hang it up and retire.

Philip Rivers

  • Age: 39, free agent entering 2021

2020 was all new for fiery veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. He made the switch from playing with the Chargers to signing a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

The former fourth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft played 16 seasons with the Bolts, but it was time to move on after the 2019 season.

Rivers inked a one-year deal with the Colts in March worth $25 million. Overall both sides got what they wanted, as Indianapolis made the playoffs with Rivers throwing for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

There was a lot of debate during the season when Rivers struggled if it was time for him to start thinking about hanging it up.

Now that the season is over, Colts coach Frank Reich said he wants Rivers back at the QB spot in 2021.

“As I sit here right now, yes, I want Philip Rivers to be my starting quarterback next year,” Reich said Monday.

It’s been well documented that Rivers has a large family (nine children). Who knows how that will impact his decision making if he comes back or not.

It’s hard to think that a team will give him another one-year deal worth $25 million. But in a league that is quarterback starved, Rivers still has some gas left in the tank.

Putting money on Rivers to give it one more go in 2021 is a good bet. He himself said he would love to comeback and end his career playing in a Super Bowl, something that he’s yet to do.

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Age: 38, signed through 2021 season

Maybe the toughest call is if it’s time to walk away or not for longtime Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. His season ended with a thud Sunday night in a stunning 48-37 loss at home to the Cleveland Browns.

“Big Ben” was flat out awful, throwing four interceptions in the game as it allowed Cleveland to build a 28-0 lead.

The quarterback rallied to help Pittsburgh make it somewhat of a game in the second half. Overall he threw the ball 68 times for 501 yards and four scores, but it was nowhere near enough.

Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger was the talk of the NFL earlier in the season when the franchise started 11-0 and Ben was slinging the ball all over the field to a group of young wideouts.

Then, as well as the team was playing, the month of December hit and the bottom dropped out. The team suffered losses in four of their last five games including Sunday’s wild card loss.

Many fans have been calling for Roethlisberger to retire even before Sunday’s loss. And the fact that he just couldn’t get the ball downfield was an indication that his arm was just wearing out after surgery last year that forced him to miss all but a game and a half of the 2019 season.

The lasting scene of the legacy of Roethlisberger could be him sitting on a bench at Heinz Field, head down after a playoff loss.

The quarterback has said he wants to come back if the team will have him, and that might be the biggest question.

It won’t be an easy decision for the organization. Roethlisberger is due a $14 million roster bonus three days into the new league year.

If he’s willing to take a pay cut, Roethlisberger will give it one more go. Though it might be wise to put some money on him walking away if the team has anything to say and makes the decision for him.

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