PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger is now the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, General Manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday at a news conference.
In addition, Colbert was lukewarm in his assessment of a future franchise quarterback in the organization.
As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Colbert said. … He told us time and time again that he wanted to continue playing and we told him in all honesty that we had to look at the current situation. … With Ben’s current cap number, you’ve got some work to do.
Team owner and CEO Arthur Rooney II told reporters last month that the 39-year-old future quarterback can’t count on $41.2 million for the 2021 season. Later that day, Roethlisberger told The Athletic that he was ready to work with the team and said he didn’t care about my salary this year!
Colbert focused on finding a solution that would benefit both the organization and the quarterback, who was picked 11th in 2004.
Ben Roethlisberger is on the team, the general manager said Wednesday. Ben Roethlisberger did a lot of good things last year. We expect him to do good things in the future too.
I hope we can try to find and do what is best for the organization and what is best for Ben. I hope he sees it and feels the same way we do. There’s a lot of work to do, not just with Ben, but with the entire group of free agents and our entire cap situation.
Colbert said the assessment of Roethlisberger’s future within the organization begins with the financial situation for the 2021 season. If Mr. Roethlisberger resigns or is fired, he will still count toward the $22.25 million cap. If the team decides to extend his contract and convert the base salary and recruiting bonus into a signing bonus spread over several years, the team could reduce its impact to a maximum of $27.125 million. While unlikely, Roethlisberger could also agree to play for minimum wage and lower his salary to $17.925 million, but his cap would still be $23.325 million.
The COWID-19 pandemic is expected to lower the salary cap significantly – though it may not go below $175 million. ESPN’s list management system currently expects the Steelers to exceed the cap by more than $22 million. The team must meet the captain’s requirements before the start of the new championship year on the 17th. March meeting.
We all suffered losses from the pandemic and we have to deal with that. And we will, said Mr. Colbert. This is not unique to us. Two-thirds of the league is facing similar problems. We will continue to monitor the situation closely in the coming weeks.
It’s mainly financial because we have to comply with regulations, he said. Then we make assumptions about what we can do to build a better team for us and for Ben. What kind of team can he expect to have around him if we decide to move forward together.
When Roethlisberger met with Steelers officials shortly after the season ended, it was agreed that they would meet again once certain other factors, such as the availability of free agents and ceiling space, were clearer. Colbert declined to say exactly whether he has met with Roethlisberger since then or when they will meet again to settle things in the future.
This is an ongoing process, Mr. Colbert said. It’s none of his business. He engages the players around him. I’m sure he wants to see what team we can keep together in the current situation. I hope we can all make the necessary adjustments to maintain the cohesion of the group.
In addition to clarifying Roethlisberger’s situation, Colbert acknowledged that it would be difficult to rehire any of the team’s 19 free agents, such as big receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, given the ceiling restrictions. But before they can truly appreciate the potential of free agency, the Steelers must first determine the future of their quarterback.
Going back to Ben’s year 2020, he did some extraordinary things, Colbert said. At the beginning of the year, we were talking about seeing what he does, because he does incredible things as we build this 11-0 record. Much of what he did at key moments in the games. He didn’t play very well at the end, but we didn’t play very well alongside him either.
Can he do anything special? Absolutely. Did he do as he expected? I think he’ll be the first one to say no to you. Ben only cares about one thing: He cares about winning the Super Bowl. He’s no different than we are. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll never be satisfied. So let’s hope that the team we put together in 2021 will be a team that once again is not content to lose in the first round of the playoffs.