There is an elephant in the room for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That elephant is named Ben Roethlisberger, and, more importantly, his $41 million dollar salary cap hit he is set to earn in the 2021 season. Since the end of the season, reports have circulated about Roethlisberger’s return.
Team president Art Rooney II said he wants Roethlisberger back.
Ben Roethlisberger himself says he wants to come back and play at least another year.
Rooney says he wants to find a way to get the cap hit down for Roethlisberger in 2021.
Roethlisberger tells the media, through his agent, he doesn’t care how much he makes this upcoming season.
Seems as if there isn’t much to debate, right? Well, it is easy to make statements and make everything seem all good, then you start talking about numbers. Even for someone like Roethlisberger, who has made over $250 million dollars in his career, the numbers matter.
It is now being reported the two sides will be meeting at some point this week to talk about the upcoming season, and Roethlisberger’s future.
This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
Ben Roethlisberger is expected to meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers next week to discuss both his future and his contract, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The two sides decided they needed to take time apart following the season before convening to discuss the next steps, sources said.
So the two sides are meeting this week, so what?
What intrigued me the most from the above quote is how the “two sides decided they needed to take time apart...to discuss the next steps.”
When I read that it certainly caused some red flags to go up. If Rooney and Roethlisberger are so gung-ho to return in 2021, why the need to take time apart? If Roethlisberger states publicly he wants to play, what is there to discuss about the next steps?
The answer is money. The answer is always money.
Roethlisberger is going to want the $19 million is he owed in 2021, and the Steelers want to make sure it doesn’t negatively impact the team’s ability to maneuver in free agency when the 2021 league year begins in March.
Needless to say, these discussions could go sideways quickly, or they could be fine and the team and Roethlisberger find a way to stick together for at least another season. Either way, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.