Latest On Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger

The Steelers remain somewhat confident in Ben Roethlisberger going forward, and after a meeting with the future Hall of Fame quarterback, the consensus was that he intends to return for an 18th season. But GM Kevin Colbert stopped short of fully committing to the 17-year veteran for 2021.

Colbert said Wednesday, via’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Roethlisberger communicated to them he wants to return for an 18th season. His contract runs through 2021. But Colbert said he, Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin informed the passer “quite frankly, we need to look at the situation” (Twitter link).

Roethlisberger said recently he is willing to restructure his contract to help the Steelers, but they are well over the projected 2020 salary cap. The Steelers and Big Ben are not currently negotiating, per Colbert, who added (via’s Missi Matthews, (on Twitter), “As we sit here today, Ben Roethlisberger is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.” That sort of statement certainly qualifies as eyebrow-raising, especially considering the Steelers’ lack of a surefire QB plan that does not involve Big Ben.

It involves the players around him. I’m sure he’s going to to want to see what type of team we can keep together under our current situation,” Colbert said, via Brooke Pryor of (Twitter links). “Then we’re making guesstimates as to what we can do to put the best team together for our sake and for Ben’s sake. What kind of team can he anticipate being around him if we decide we can move forward together.”

Colbert said he believes Roethlisberger can “absolutely” still do special things, despite going into his age-39 season and coming off a four-INT playoff game. But he was less bullish on his quarterback than he was during the 2020 offseason, when Roethlisberger was coming off a severe elbow injury. As of Wednesday, Roethlisberger’s 2021 cap number sits at an NFL-high $41.3MM. He is due a $15MM roster bonus March 19.

Roethlisberger would still count $22MM against Pittsburgh’s cap if he retired, and a $27MM cap figure would be the lowest possible if the Steelers extended him, Dan Graziano of notes (on Twitter). Even if he returned for the league minimum in base salary, Ben’s contract would still produce a cap number north of $23MM next season.

Hopefully there’s a way we can figure out what’s best for the organization,” Colbert said, via Kinkhabwala (on Twitter). “Hopefully he can see that and feel the same way.”

The Steelers will also look quite different than they did in January. They have JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton and Alejandro Villanueva a month from free agency. Without any of these players factoring into the equation, the Steelers are $30MM over the projected $180MM salary cap. Pittsburgh has Mason Rudolph going into a contract year and signed Dwayne Haskins recently, but the team has not made a true investment in a long-term quarterback since selecting Roethlisberger in the 2004 first round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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34 comments on “Latest On Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger

  1. Thronson5

    Not like they have anyone to replace him. He started off decent but seemed like his arm got tired and he wasn’t very good at the end of the season. Be smart to draft a QB early

      • Sponge

        Yep. I said something that I thought I would never say. And it sounded weird when I said it. I said that I thought they were the worst 11-0 team I ever saw. It sounded like a dumb thing to say, but Pittsburgh went 1-4 to end the regular season, and then they were one and done in the playoffs. So I wasn’t too far off.

        • cwalla24

          What’s crazy is I don’t think they even qualified as having a full dimension. Literally they ended up being capable of executing a short passing game, they couldn’t even scheme a full passing game.

          Hard to win with a half-dimensional offense haha

        • frustratedpittsburghpiratesfan

          And the Steelers missing two elite starters on Defense hurt. For an older Team the implications of the Ravens game being delayed twice. Was it three games in less than 11 days. So much for that NFL concern about player’s safety???? Hey, 2 Super Bowls for Steelers in last 15 years. Some NFL Teams would love to have two Lombardi Trophies.

    • 2012orioles

      Dead last in the run. Dead last. Still win 12 games. The have a very solid defense. They need to rebuild the running game. Unless Trevor Lawrence is there, you don’t take a qb. Take a LT or C. Ben can still win you games better than most. Continue to push him out for 30 years of looking for a qb.

  2. forwhomjoshbelltolled

    If they force him into retirement, how much dead space do they have?

    They’d be better off letting Rudolph, Haskins and a veteran FA compete, drafting a RB and then loading up the D even more.

    2002 Bucs formula.

    Is that likely to work? No, but more likely than pretending Ben can still play while having no money for anyone else.

    • bucsfan

      22MM dead cap hit for a retirement. Better that at this point than 27MM this year and 23MM next. Rip the bandaid off and hope for the best. Defense is too good to truly tank and land a high pick

    • 3Rivers

      I get your points, but they need Offensive Lineman in the worst way. They will at the very least, draft an OL in one of the 1st 2 picks, maybe even 2 OL in their 1st 2 picks.

  3. Yep it is

    They aren’t winning next year with or without him. Let the old abuser go somewhere else and play. Not sure how many teams would be interested in a QB whose best throw is 8 yards and having to worry about him accosting another female at any time.

    • deal1122

      Why feel the need to continue making jokes about Ben? No one thinks you’re funny, keyboard warrior

      • Miklo916

        Lol cause everybody praise Ben as he some type of god when he really be raping women. I have no love for Ben or anybody that thinks he should of second chance. But if was AB or RAY RICE OR HUNT it would be different story they be a all kinds of stuff.

        • deal1122

          I can’t even comprehend your grammar, or spelling pal. By the way, you might want to check up on the AB allegations :-)

  4. arty!

    Why doesn’t Ben sign a vet minimum contract and retire like Brees is setting up to do? Help the team and cap!

    • deal1122

      He could do that, but they still have a large dead money cap hit of around 22 million due to contract restructuring. Whether he comes back or not, that 22 million is still on the books and counts towards the cap

      • arty!

        Then Pit should pull the plug on Ben. Clear the cap, collect comp picks for their FA’s, know 21 is going to suck, and look at ’22 offseason.

        • deal1122

          Regardless of if they bring him back or not, the 22 million cap hit is still on the books even though it’s been paid

          • arty!

            Then how or why did Brees re-do his deal? It’s an honest question. Why can 1 player wipe off his numbers w/ a new deal but another can’t?

            • Hawktattoo

              If I remember right the Saints are gaining almost 24 million in salary space with reworking contract. From roughly 25 million to 1 million, not cap space.

            • deal1122

              I haven’t done enough research on Brees to tell you how they did his. As far as Ben’s contract, he has already been paid that money. The reason it’s a dead cap hit is because when he restructured his contact over the last few years, it just pushes the hit back another year. Hence why the dead cap is now at 22 mill

  5. MileHighFan

    Pittsburgh is about to face the music. They have nothing at QB (Roethlisberger is nearly done and the backups clearly don’t have NFL-caliber skills), they have no money to spend on plugging their roster holes or re-signing their own free agents, and although they have a full set of draft picks they are towards the end of each round.

    Sure they might win 8 games next year barring injuries, but all that does is delay the inevitable.

  6. IAmAFan

    Steelers could potentially draft Mac Jones depending if he does fall. And if they do draft a QB 1st round, Mason Rudolph could be a potential trade piece. But I think their first priority is to resign JuJu.

  7. madmanTX

    Trade Ben to the Texans for Watson: the Texans would do that deal because they are idiots.

  8. emac22

    If he wants to play another year and is willing to play for about 5 mil I’d be fine with it but if you go over that it means not resigning some of the good young players. I wouldn’t want him back if he costs us players or a big cap hit the following year.

    Part of reestablishing the run game means not having to be terrified that someone touches Ben and injures him.

  9. case7187

    It’s amazing how a guy who used steroids can’t get into the HOF but a guy that sexually assault 2+ women is a sure bet to make it

  10. Courtside

    So curious

    Doesn’t have to be this deal but would something for salary matching work such as

    And B. Cook


    This years #24
    And next years Pitt 1st and 2nd?

    • deal1122

      HOU wouldn’t do that, with or without Ben in the deal. You saw how much the Rams gave up for Stafford, who is in his mid-late 30’s. Watson will get a king’s ransom

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