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Steelers GM Kevin Colbert doesn’t give a ringing endorsement for Ben Roethlisberger in 2021

The Steelers general manager admitted there’s a lot to work out with Roethlisberger for the 2021 season.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert met with members of the media on Wednesday and answered questions in regards to the Steelers 2021 offseason. With the Steelers facing uncertainty at the quarterback position, specifically in regards to the future of Ben Roethlisberger, Colbert did not make particularly bold statements about the future of their franchise quarterback. In fact, it was what Colbert did not say in regards to Roethlisberger which speaks more to the situation. This per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic:

So what exactly did Colbert say concerning Roethlisberger during his time with the media? Several different statements have been reported. For example, even if Roethlisberger wants to return to the Steelers they will be looking to do what is best for the organization. This per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

But it’s not all salary cap and contract negotiations when it comes to Roethlisberger according to Kevin Colbert. The Steelers also have to decide if Ben Roethlisberger is their best option with what they want to do in their offense moving forward. This per Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network:

So if Ben Roethlisberger may or may not be the right quarterback for the Steelers moving forward, what are the options according to their general manager? The only other player to start at the position for the Steelers in 2020 was Mason Rudolph. With one year left on his contract, Colbert mentioned he was encouraged with Rudolph’s progress in 2020. This per Bob Labriola of Steelers.com:

Colbert also went on to say Mason Rudolph would also be looking to prove what he can do going into the final year of his contract. Obviously, the only way he can do this beyond the Pittsburgh Steelers is to see significant playing time this coming season.

Although the endorsement for Rudolph was encouraging, his situation with the Steelers in 2021 ultimately comes down to Roethlisberger first. Should the Steelers decide to retain Roethlisberger and be able to rework the remaining year of his contract in order to help with the salary cap, it means this is Roethlisberger’s team as long as he is with the Steelers.

Most importantly, the Steelers have to figure out what direction they are going with in regards to the 2021 salary cap situation. Whether or not they feel Roethlisberger is their best option a quarterback is insignificant if they simply cannot make his salary fit within their financial means. This according to Kinkhabwala:

There is an awful lot which can be read into what general manager Kevin Colbert said and did not say during his time with the media on Wednesday. In the past, Colbert has always come out to talk about how Roethlisberger is there guy moving forward. Not hearing those words will have many reading between the lines as to how the Steelers ultimately feel about Ben Roethlisberger’s future. On the other hand, these words could be setting the stage for contract negotiations between Roethlisberger and Steelers in order to put the team in the best financial shape going forward.

Only time will tell whether or not the Steelers and Roethlisberger will be moving forward together or apart from this point on. Either way, they Steelers have exactly four weeks to finalize their decisions as the new league year is set to kick off at 4 PM on March 17.