Ben Roethlisberger meets with Steelers president Art Rooney II, and apparently everything went well

Ben Roethlisberger and Steelers president Art Rooney II met Tuesday, according to Gerry Dulac of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The meeting reportedly “went well” as Roethlisberger and Rooney no doubt discussed the future of the quarterback with the organization.

Roethlisberger, who will turn 39 next month, has publicly expressed his desire to return to Pittsburgh for his 18th season. Last month, he told The Athletic’s Ed Bocuhette that he is more than willing to adjust his salary to help the Steelers manage their cap situation.

“I want to do everything I can” Roethlisberger said, “and I made it very clear to them from the beginning that it was my idea basically to help the team however I can this year.”

According to Spotrac, Roethlisberger has a base salary of $ 4 million, a staff bonus of $ 15 million (to be paid on March 19) and a salary cap of more than $ 41 million. As Joel Corry of CBS Sports pointed out last month, the Steelers placed themselves in this position last March when they lowered their 2020 cap from $ 33.5 million to $ 23.75 million by converting $ 19.5 million of their $ 21 million compensation in 2020. in a signing bonus. Roethlisberger’s 2021 cap number increased by $ 9.75 million in the process.

“I think we’ve been up front with Ben letting him know that we couldn’t get him back under the current contract and I think he understands that we have work to do there,” Rooney II said last month. via Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider. “We will have more conversations. We will have more conversations internally. We will have more conversations with Ben. Obviously, we will have to know what the ceiling is at some point to finalize some of those decisions.”

Earlier this month, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was transparent when asked about Roethlisberger’s future.

“With Ben’s current cap number, some adjustments will have to be made”, Colbert said, via Dulac. “Hopefully there is a way to find out what’s best for the organization. Hopefully he can see that and feel the same way. There’s a lot of work to do.”

While it appears they are open to having Roethlisberger back, the Steelers don’t appear to be building their 2021 squad to better complement him. Since the end of the 2020 season, Pittsburgh has passed offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who is close to Roethlisberger. The Steelers also haven’t secured the resignation of two of Roethlisberger’s favorite offensive teammates: wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner. And while it wasn’t the team’s doing, Roethlisberger’s closest teammate, center Maurkice Pouncey, announced his retirement earlier this month.

Unlike in previous years, the Steelers aren’t adapting their team to better suit Roethlisberger’s needs. It’s similar to what happened in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, who last year infamously selected Rodgers’ successor in place of a receiver in the first round. The Steelers aren’t pushing Big Ben out the door, but it looks like they’re making him choose between retiring, playing elsewhere, or playing on a very different Steelers team than he had in 2020.

If Roethlisberger chooses to move forward, Colbert said the Steelers will prepare to play Mason Rudolph as a starter in 2021. That would give Pittsburgh one year to determine whether Rudolph, who is entering the final year of his contract, is the successor to long-term Roethlisberger. There is also the possibility of the Steelers using their first-round pick on a quarterback. Pittsburgh, which is expected to have nine draft picks, could trade to acquire one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in this year’s draft, a scenario that CBS NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson played in his last mock draft. .

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