According to a tweet from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Ben Roethlisberger is expected to meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ next week to discuss his future and his contract status.
Art Rooney II hinted as much during his media rounds last week, saying the plan was for Roethlisberger and the team to get together after the NFL season ended to discuss his future.
The Steelers are open to bringing Roethlisberger back for his age-39 season. But given the cap constriction and Roethlisberger’s hefty $41 million cap charge, it’s near-impossible to bring him back at that figure. There are multiple ways the team could reduce his 2021 cap hit. The most likely is a voidable year extension that could lower his cap hit by $14 million in 2021, though it would create a $14 million dead money charge in 2022. By then, the salary cap should shoot back up, giving the Steelers breathing room and the ability to absorb that dead money.
Roethlisberger has expressed the desire to return for at least one more season. Provided the team can figure out the financials, he’ll be the team’s starting QB come Week One. He threw for over 3800 yards and 33 TDs in 2020.
Any extension or restructure with Roethlisberger will have to be completed before his March signing bonus is due. Re-working Roethlisberger’s contract will open up plenty of cap space. Combine that with the likelihood of the 2021 salary cap coming in above the floor, though we don’t know exactly where that number will land, the Steelers probably won’t be in the dire straits some think they are.