While it sounds like Ben Roethlisberger is willing to meet the financial demands of owner Art Rooney II, those impending contract discussions still left some question marks about the quarterback’s future in Pittsburgh. Well, it sounds like Roethlisberger will have a say in roster construction, another indication that he’ll be back next season. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Roethlisberger is set to meet with Rooney and head coach Mike Tomlin next month to discuss “what roster plans they have for the 2021 season.”
“Ben knows he has more left, but having key players back, like (Maurkice) Pouncey, will be important,” agent Ryan Tollner told Dulac. “Ben’s contract won’t hold things up. We told them immediately after the season we will make any necessary adjustment to help their cap situation in 2021.”
Earlier this week, we learned that Rooney wanted to reduce Roethlisberger’s $41.2M cap hit for next season. We learned later that day that the quarterback’s camp was willing to oblige, and these recent quotes from Tollner seem to emphasize that they won’t be haggling over a contract. It sounds like the main sticking point will focus on what the Steelers do with the rest of their roster.
The organization is already projected to be more than $30M over a $175M cap, but it is not known how far the cap will drop from this year’s $198M ceiling. Wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster is set to hit free agency, and the Steelers front office will have to trim some more salaries (like, potentially, Pouncey’s) before the start of next season. While any hypothetical Roethlisberger restructuring would undoubtedly help the cause, the organization will still have to make tough decisions elsewhere on its roster.