2021 Offseason Questions: Why Isn’t Restructured Deal For Big Ben Done Yet?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Why have Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers not already worked out a renegotiated contract weeks ago?

Ben Roethlisberger wants to come back to the Steelers. The Steelers want Roethlisberger to come back. Both parties are more than on board about working together to find a way to reduce his cap hit for the 2021 season in order to make that happen.

So why hasn’t this been a done deal for some time now? That’s one of the biggest questions in Pittsburgh at the moment—that and, when is this actually going to happen, and what is it actually going to look like in the end?

Truth be told, a lot of people haven’t bought some of the answers that we have heard from the team about why they haven’t completed a renegotiated deal with Roethlisberger yet. General manager Kevin Colbert, for example, talked about wanting to see what kind of team they could put together first, even talking about the draft…which is at the end of April, and Roethlisberger has a $15 million roster bonus due March 19.

As we have seen, a lot of people have been of the thought (or rather hope) that the delay could be tied to the Steelers wanting Roethlisberger to consent to a reduction in pay from the $19 million total that he is owed. A more likely possibility could be what the future years of a necessary extension would look like in terms of salary, in the event that he actually does play behind 2021.

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