“As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He reiterated that to us that he wants to continue to play, and we told him quite frankly we have to look at this current situation. ... With Ben’s current cap number, some adjustment will have to be made.”
That quote comes to you courtesy of Brooke Pryor, a Steelers beat reporter for ESPN.com, and it’s from gm Kevin Colbert’s press conference with reporters on Wednesday. Of course, the quote is about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his current status with the team, including a salary cap hit that is untenable (I just learned that word).
In the case of Roethlisberger and the Steelers, the word untenable, while not the exact definition, means, “We can’t pay you that much.”
Colbert’s statement regarding Roethlisberger’s future with the team didn’t seem much different than the one Art Rooney II made a few weeks ago during his year-end presser. The Steelers need to rework Roethlisberger’s contract, and Roethlisberger appears to be open to doing just that.
So why the wild-running speculation on Wednesday, brother? Is it because of the words “As we sit here today”? If so, why? What else was Colbert supposed to say? As we sit here today, there are a lot of players who are members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but tomorrow could be another story based on any number of things. But in the case of the Steelers and their future Hall of Fame quarterback, I can’t imagine any one thing preventing them from working something out. As I’ve stated before, it seems like the best route is for the two sides to work out an extension that significantly reduces the team’s cap hit from the $19 million it would be if no reworking was done. I say reworking because it doesn’t seem like renegotiating is the right thing to call it. Would the Steelers really ask their quarterback to take a pay-cut so significant that he would be making at or close to the veteran minimum for 2021? If so, would the extra few million saved really be worth it, especially if Roethlisberger was unwilling to do that? And if the big guy wasn’t into doing that, I would certainly side with the player and encourage him to tell his bosses to take their new deal and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
If the Steelers want Roethlisberger’s services for 2021, that means they think he has what it takes to get them to where they want to go. You don’t get that for minimum wage, my friend.
But I feel confident that Colbert’s words weren’t meant to be taken in a cryptic fashion. Like a lot of folks, I think he knows the work that has to be done for the team to get into cap compliance by the start of the NFL’s new calendar year. And, guess what? The new year is still a month away. As others have said, we still don’t know what the NFL’s salary cap will ultimately be. When that figure becomes a reality, so will Roethlisberger’s status for 2021.
As we sit here today, I believe Ben Roethlisberger playing for the Steelers again in 2021 is pretty much a sure thing.