- Ben Roethlisberger is the favorite to be the next NFL quarterback to retire.
- After winning his 7th Super Bowl, Tom Brady is 8-to-1 to be the next QB to retire.
- Future Jeopardy host (?) Aaron Rodgers the longshot at 22-to-1.
When Drew Brees was selected 32nd overall in the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, he spent most of the season backing up veteran quarterback Doug Flutie. When Drew Brees announced his retirement from the NFL after 20 seasons on March 14, 2021, we learned a day later he would join NBC Sports and Mike Tirico in the broadcast booth as color commentator of Notre Dame football this fall. Do you wanna bet which former NFL QB held that same analyst position six of the past seven years? Yup, Doug Flutie.
With Brees and fellow Chargers alum Philip Rivers both announcing their retirements from the NFL in recent months, bookmakers over at Bovada have cooked up odds as to who will be the next veteran quarterback to retire from the National Football League. At 39 years old, and knowing the game has taken its toll on his body, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger is the slight favorite to hang ’em up next.
Odds to be Next NFL QB to Retire
Ben Roethlisberger (-110)
Due to various ailments, Big Ben has only played one (1) full 16-game season over the past six years. The year after he passed for a career-high 5,129 yards, Roethlisberger required significant surgery because he tore three of five elbow ligaments off the bone.
“It has happened to everyday people, but from what I’ve been told, it’s never happened to a quarterback of this magnitude,” Roethlisberger said in August 2020. “I believe another quarterback had maybe one or two torn off, but not three, from what I understand.”
Thanks, in part, to a softer schedule in 2020, Roethlisberger led the the Steelers to a 12-3 regular season record before the rival Cleveland Browns knocked them out in the Wild Card round.
It’s quite possible the only thing keeping Roethlisberger from retirement is the lack of a threat behind him on the depth chart. Mason Rudolph isn’t going to challenge him for snaps. This provides the 17-year starter a nice runway to land on before heading for the exits.
Alex Smith (+150)
Alex Smith may be a free agent in the moment, but he’s also lucky to be alive. Back in 2018, Washington’s starting quarterback suffered a gruesome compound fracture that broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg, but that was only the beginning. After his initial surgery, Smith had to fight off a flesh-eating bacteria and then 16 additional surgeries, 17 in all. His return to the field last season was the feel good moment the league and Washington needed in what was a wonky pandemic-impacted campaign.
Smith was released by the Football Team, but whispers of a reunion with college coach Urban Meyer, then of Utah, now of the Jacksonville Jaguars, could extend Smith’s career.
Tom Brady (+800)
Ugh. Him again, right? All kidding aside, the G.O.A.T. is the G.O.A.T. and he has seven Super Bowl rings to back it up. Brady just signed a new contract with the Buccaneers that keeps him through the 2022 season assuming he doesn’t retire after 2021. Unlike Roethlisberger whose body hates him, Brady has only missed four games over the past 12 seasons. Brady will turn 44 years old this August and would be 45 heading into the last year of his current contract. He’ll tie Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde and Steve DeBerg who all played at 44 years, but will still trail the record holder, George Blanda, who played until he was 48*. Granted, that record comes with an asterisk as Blanda was converted to kicker down the stretch. So, if Brady wants to embrace his inner-Adam Vinatieri, it’s welcomed.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (+1200)
Do you believe in Fitzmagic? The Washington Football Team does as they just inked the veteran quarterback to a one-year, $10-million deal. He’s expected to head into camp as the starter with Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke competing for snaps.
Fitzpatrick, who will turn 39 years old during the 2021 regular season, may enter as the starter, but will likely be urged to mentor whichever quarterback Washington drafts this spring in addition to help in Allen’s and Henicke’s progression. Should Fitz suffer a season-ending injury, don’t be surprised if he decides to announce his retirement. He’s given a lot to the game and, like a Josh McCown, can continue to share his wealth of knowledge as a coach in his next chapter.
Aaron Rodgers (+2200)
Rodgers is such a tough guy to read, he should retire and become a poker player. Heck, nobody knew he was engaged to actress Shailene Woodley until he mentioned it during the NFL Honor ceremony last month. So, if he retired before the start of the 2021, it wouldn’t come as a surprise and if he didn’t retire until he turned 50, 13 years from now, it wouldn’t come as a surprise. The only shock would be if he indeed became the next host of Jeopardy.