It looks like longtime Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be staying in Pittsburgh – but there will be cap hurdles to clear.
Team president Art Rooney II said in a statement Wednesday morning that both parties met and expressed a mutual desire to stay together.
“Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting,” the statement posted to Twitter read. “We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go. Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship.
“We both understand that the next step is to work out Ben’s contract situation.”
With the final year of the 38-year-old’s current deal coming with a $41.2 million cap hit, a contract restructure could lower that by a maximum of roughly $14 million. In a statement to NFL Network, Roethlisberger’s agent expressed his willingness to cooperate to make things work financially.
“They want Ben back and will contact me soon to address his cap situation,” Ryan Tollner wrote. “As we’ve shared since the season ended, we are happy to creatively adjust his contract to help them build the best team possible. A year ago, Ben wasn’t sure if he could throw again, but battled back to get 12 wins and the 8th division title of his career.
“They lost steam down the stretch and that doesn’t sit well for him, so the fire burns strong and there is plenty of gas in the tank.”
The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback’s contract has to be figured out by the start of the new league year on March 17.
In 2020, Roethlisberger posted a 65.6 completion percentage with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, following an elbow injury he sustained in Week 2 of 2019 that sidelined him for a majority of that season.
In addition to Roethlisberger’s commitment, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster recently told TMZ Sports that he hopes to be in Pittsburgh for the rest of his career. The Steelers’ 2017 second-round pick is currently a free agent.
“At the end of the day, I want to have my legacy in Pittsburgh and retire there,” the 24-year-old said. “I don’t want to leave.”
Smith-Schuster posted a career-best nine touchdowns during the 2020 season, with 831 yards on 97 receptions. The Steelers lost in a wild-card game to the Browns after missing the playoffs for two straight seasons in 2018 and ’19.