The saga between the Steelers and their franchise quarterback goes well beyond finances.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and their franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are currently at odds. The general public feels as if the two parties are at odds over money, after all, Roethlisberger will have a whopping $41 million dollar cap hit in 2021, but is that really all which is plaguing this relationship?
A day after Kevin Colbert met with media, via Zoom, to discuss the organization moving forward, and the upcoming offseason, the fan base was ablaze thinking about Ben Roethlisberger possibly not being a part of the team in 2021. Whether it be to retirement, or a release, the thought of Roethlisberger not being on the team is still something which is tough to fathom.
Social media was pounded with fans suggesting Roethlisberger take a pay cut to help the team. How he should be appreciative of all the Steelers have done for him throughout the years. Some even brought up the off field allegations as a reason Roethlisberger should be thinking about the team, and not the bottom line.
Well, not only did Roethlisberger say he isn’t concerned with how much money he makes, but it isn’t his fault the Steelers consistently pushed his money back, knowing the time would come when his salary cap hit would be astronomical.
At this point, there is only so much Roethlisberger can do to help the team after they have kicked the can down the street so much. He can say he doesn’t care what he makes in 2021, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and NFLPA show Roethlisberger is due a significant amount of money in 2021, no matter what.
This tweet from Dan Graziano of ESPN outlines this perfectly:
Current 2021 cap number: $41.25M.
2021 cap number if he retires or is cut: $22.25M.
Lowest possible 2021 cap number if Steelers extend his deal: $27.125M.
2021 cap number if he took a $17.925M pay cut and played for minimum (which feels unlikely): $23.325M.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 17, 2021
The Steelers could give Roethlisberger an extension, bumping a lot of his money owed over the next two years solving a lot of problems, but is this saga, if you want to call it that, all about money?
For the Steelers, it is about the bottom line for the entire organization. With an unknown salary cap number in 2021 the team has to be concerned with the $41 million dollar cap hit for Roethlisberger. The ultimate goal is to not have their quarterback’s pay hinder the team from keeping some of their own free agents, and possibly signing some outside free agents. All while still having their franchise quarterback on the field.
For Roethlisberger, he is going to get his money one way or another, but does he want to return? After the retirements of two of his best friends on the team, Vance McDonald and Maurkice Pouncey, does Roethlisberger even want to come back for the 2021 season? Does he want to come back with a new offensive coordinator who wants to do things he isn’t comfortable, or familiar, with? Does he want to go through those growing pains as a 39 year old quarterback in the waning years of his career?
You can suggest this is all about the money, and money certainly is a large part of this situation, but don’t kid yourself in thinking it is the only factor for No. 7 potentially returning for another year in Pittsburgh.
This saga isn’t close to being over, but expect things to heat up before they cool down with Roethlisberger due a large portion of his money in the month of March. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.