Steelers News

Art Rooney II Open To Ben Roethlisberger Returning, But Says ‘We Couldn’t Have Him Back Under The Current Contract’

Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is due to earn $19 million for the 2021 season, but his salary cap hit for the year is scheduled to be much higher than that due to prior amortized signing bonus money and past restructures, ballooning all the way to $41.25 million, among the highest in the entire league.

Team president and owner Art Rooney II just spoke to the media a short while ago, and in no uncertain terms, he said that Roethlisberger will not be under contract for the 2021 season under that value, meaning that something will have to be done with his deal in order for him to return.

“We’ve left that door open”, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quotes him as saying. “We’ve been up front with Ben in letting him know that we couldn’t have him back under the current contract”.

The Steelers currently have more than $200 million committed to the 2021 salary cap, which is potentially substantially more than what the actual salary cap value will be. Even if other players retire, it’s obvious that they will have their work cut out for them just to get into compliance.

It was also assumed all along that the Steelers would do something with Roethlisberger’s contract, but the way that Rooney stated the case earlier today almost made it sound as though they are more open than might have previously been believed to the possibility of moving on if for some reason they could not make some alternative arrangement.

“I think we’d like to see Ben back for another year if that can work, but as we’ve said, there’s a lot of work to be done to see if that can happen”, Brooke Pryor of ESPN quoted Rooney as stating. “There may need to be decision to be made for that to happen”.

Roethlisberger’s future with the team and how it relates to his contract is something that we have talked about a lot this year and last. In fact, we took a look at the various possible scenarios that could play out all the way back in August.

Roethlisberger suffered a major elbow injury during the 2019 season that resulted in three tendons in his throwing elbow tearing, requiring major surgery. He returned for the 2020 season the play the entire year.

In 15 regular season games, he completed 399 of 608 pass attempts for 3803 yards with 33 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. In one postseason game, he completed 47 of 68 pass attempts for 501 yards, throwing for four touchdowns, but also four costly interceptions.

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