Round and round the Ben Roethlisberger news cycle goes. When it’ll stop, nobody knows. But The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette has a guess. Joining The Fan Morning Show with Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack, Bouchette believes the Steelers will come to a resolution with Roethlisberger within the next week. What direction they decide to go with him is a much more open question.
“I think in the next 7 days, that brings us to early March, I think something’s going to be done with Ben one way or the other,” he told the show. “I’m not going to sit here and say he’s not coming back or he is because I don’t know.”
Kevin Colbert didn’t strongly commit one way or another in speaking with the media last week, especially during his 30 minute conference call with reporters. He struck a more optimistic tone in his 1v1 with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews.
At this point, we only know two things.
1. Ben Roethlisberger wants to return. He’s made that clear, though Bouchette cautioned his “I don’t care what my pay” statement doesn’t mean he’s willing to take a massive paycut. Just that he wasn’t looking for a raise.
Bouchette on Ben text from a few weeks ago: “I’m not sure what he meant by that. I don’t think what he meant was, ‘Hey, I’ll play for a million bucks.’ I don’t think that’s what it meant. It could have been, ‘I’m not looking for a raise.’" #Steelers
— Steelers Depot 🎄 (@Steelersdepot) February 22, 2021
2. Roethlisberger can’t play at his $41 million cap charge. The Steelers’ organization made that point as soon as the season ended. The only way Roethlisberger returns is if the team does something with his contract.
That leaves a couple of options you’ve probably memorized by now. Roethlisberger takes a paycut, the team works out an extension (likely including voidable years) or the team cuts him.
With there being slightly more clarity on the 2021 cap, the floor raised to at least $180 million, and the Steelers beginning to get cap compliant with today’s restructure of Cam Heyward, Bouchette is probably correct in saying a resolution should soon occur. The odds are still good Roethlisberger returns in 2021. But they don’t seem quite as ironclad as they were a few weeks ago.
Until the next edition of “As The Roethlisberger Turns.”