Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger to meet after the Super Bowl to discuss contract

By Vincent Frank
NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers is dead set on playing next season after a pretty solid performance in 2020. Whether that happens with the Steelers remains to be seen.

Pittsburgh currently finds itself an estimated $24.84 million over the 2021 NFL salary cap. The team is going to have to cut the fat somewhere.

That could potentially come in the form of Big Ben restructuring his contract. If not, the Steelers could simply move on from him. However unlikely that might be, a pending meeting between Roethlisberger and his team could be telling.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Steelers, check out #HereWeGo rumors, rankings, and news here.

Ben Roethlisberger to meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers to discuss contract

Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) walks off the field after throwing an interception to Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Sione Takitaki (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of an AFC Wild Card playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

“Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are expected to meet some time next week to discuss his future and contract, per source. Both sides took some time away after the season,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Thursday. “Roethlisberger wants to return for an 18th NFL season but his $41M cap hit must be addressed.”

There’s certainly some major issues general manager Kevin Colbert must address ahead of the start of free agency. This includes three key free agents set to hit the open market in that of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bud Dupree and starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. Each of these three players is looking at $15-plus million annually in free agency.

Related: Top 40 remaining NFL free agents of 2021

Ben Roethlisberger contract

Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec 27, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) embrace at mid-field after their game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As noted in the above-linked report, Big Ben is set to count $41 million against the cap in 2021. As of right now, that would be the largest cap hit among NFL players. Simply put, Roethlisberger will not play next season under the current terms of his contract.

The likeliest scenario here is that Big Ben and the Steelers come to terms on a restructured contract. That would likely come in the form of an extension, lowering his cap figure by $20 million or so.

Despite the quarterback movement we’re seeing around the NFL right now, it seems to be highly unlikely that Roethlisberger will ever play for another team after playing the first 17 seasons of his career in Pittsburgh.

Roethlisberger, 38, is coming off a 2020 season that saw him complete 65.6% of his passes for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. It was his best statistical performance since all the way back in 2014.