Steelers team president Art Rooney II spoke with the media on Thursday and answered questions about the impending 2021 offseason. After talking about Ben Roethlisberger‘s future with the Steelers and his oversized salary cap number for this year, Rooney was optimistic that they can work things out for Roethlisberger to return and help out with the team’s salary cap in the process.
Shortly after Rooney’s call with the media, Ed Bouchette of The Athletic spoke with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the situation. According to Bouchette, Roethlisberger is not concerned about the amount of salary he receives in 2021 and is more concerned about the Steelers being competitive this fall.
Ben Roethlisberger just told me: "I don't care bout my pay at all this year!" And is willing to restructure a contract that has a $41 million cap hit for 2021 that includes $19 million in bonus and salary that can be restructured.— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 28, 2021
When it comes to Roethlisberger‘s salary cap number for 2021, $22.25 million is in dead money carryover from signing bonuses an restructures and cannot be pushed or re-distributed in any way. The size of this number was not Roethlisberger‘s doing, but rather the Steelers decision to restructure his deal in 2020 in order to save cap space for last season.
With Roethlisberger due $19 million to be paid for 2021, consisting of a $15 million roster bonus on the third day of the new league year and a $4 million base salary, the way to save the most money would be for Roethlisberger to move on from the Steelers either by retirement or to be released. While it is possible to keep Roethlisberger and still reduce this number significantly, the first decision the Steelers have to make is if Roethlisberger is going to be with the team this upcoming season and possibly beyond.
After getting a vote of confidence from Art Rooney II, Roethlisberger confirm to Bouchette that he would like to play in 2021.
More Ben Roethlisberger just now to me: "I am pretty sure I want to go one more year (because) I think I can do it and give us a real chance and winning."— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 28, 2021
So now that Roethlisberger is committed to the team this season and has publicly stated he’s willing to do what he can to help the team situation, is he ready to put his money where his mouth is? What kind of agreement can the Steelers and Roethlisberger come to for 2021 and how far beyond next season will the contract be in order to spread out any payment?
According to Bouchette, Ben Roethlisberger is the one who is doing everything he can to keep the Steelers team together and competitive as he was the one to suggest redoing his contract.
Ben told me he went to the Steelers first about restructuring his contract. "I want to do everything I can and made that very clear to them from the very beginning that it was my idea to basically help the team however I can this year."— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 28, 2021
The next step for the Steelers and Roethlisberger will be to actually get this deal done. It was in February 2020 when the restructure was announced of Roethlisberger’s salary in order to save cap space and have the room for the Steelers to use the franchise tag on Bud Dupree. If Roethlisberger and the Steelers are serious about making this work, expect an agreement sooner than later so that the Steelers can get to work on all the other business of the 2021 offseason.
Stay tuned to BTSC for continued coverage of Art Rooney II’s comments and all other things Pittsburgh Steelers.