In a conference call with the media, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert noticeably didn’t commit to QB Ben Roethlisberger being back with the team in 2021.
“As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” he said via Brooke Pryor. “… He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation.”
“Ben Roethlisberger did a lot of really good things last year. We anticipate that he could still do really good things going forward. Hopefully we can figure out how to do what’s best for the organization and for Ben. Hopefully he’ll be able to see that.”
Colbert added that Roethlisberger reiterated to him and owner Art Rooney that he wanted to play in 2021. However, per Aditi Kinkhabwala, they told him “quite frankly, we have to look at this situation.”
It sounds like the pending cap issues the Steelers are facing are playing a major role in the situation, as Pittsburgh is set to lose a host of key free agents and will have a limited budget to reload for 2021.
“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 via Pryor.
Colbert also alluded to Roethlisberger aging and potentially not being as effective in 2021, telling Pryor: “Can he still do some special things? Absolutely. Did he do that to his expectations? He would tell you no.”
The Steelers met last week to discuss Roethlisberger’s future given he has an untenable $41 million cap figure in 2021. Options for the Steelers include a restructure or some kind of pay cut outside of just releasing him.
Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette a few weeks ago that agreeing to a restructured contract for 2021 shouldn’t be an issue for the two sides.
Roethlisberger says “I don’t care bout my pay at all this year!” and added to Bouchette:
“I want to do everything I can and made that very clear to them from the very beginning that it was my idea to basically help the team however I can this year.”
However, it now appears uncertain as to whether the two sides will be able to work something out.
Roethlisberger, 38, is a former first-round pick of the Steelers back in 2004. He finalized a three-year, $68 million contract last offseason that included a $37.5 million signing bonus.
Roethlisberger is owed $19 million for the 2021 season.
In 2020, Roethlisberger appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
We’ll have more on Roethlisberger’s status for 2021 as the news is available.