(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Art Rooney II said on Wednesday that Ben Roethlisberger will be the Steelers' quarterback in 2021, but they just have figure out his contract situation to reduce his $41.25 million cap hit. With the owner publicly saying Roethlisberger will be back, it would be hard to imagine the two sides not coming to an agreement.
Many in the media and Steelers fans wondered why Roethlisberger wouldn't take a massive pay cut instead of a contract restructure, since he told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic last month that he doesn't care how much he gets paid this year.
The answer is quite simple. Roethlisberger would upset the NFL Players Association if he took a immense pay cut as it could potentially affect current and future players by making way below what the market dictates for a franchise quarterback. It's also just not a realistic situation as he would have to take a 70 percent pay cut to save the Steelers more money, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN. Roethlisberger would play for less than $6 million in 2021 if that were the case. That's just not pragmatic.
Yeah, Roethlisberger has made a ton of money in his career, $252,724,382 to be exact in career earnings, according to Overthecap.com. But a contract restructure makes more sense for both sides rather than a huge pay cut, which could potentially upset the union and Roethlisberger would be significantly underpaid as well. The Steelers will get cap relief regardless with a Roethlisberger contract restructure.
Bouchette mentioned on 93.7 The Fan on Monday that Roethlisberger texted him that he didn't care how much he made this year, but it wasn't clear how far he would go.
“I’m not sure what he meant by that. I don’t think what he meant was, ‘Hey, I’ll play for a million bucks.’ I don’t think that’s what it meant. It could have been, ‘I’m not looking for a raise,'" Bouchette said.
Graziano sees a contract restructure for Roethlisberger being pretty simple. Graziano lays out a scenario where Roethlisberger would get a four-year extension, contract voids after 2021 and $17.925 million of his 2021 compensation converts to a signing bonus. The Steelers would save $14.34 million on the 2021 cap and it puts a $14.34 million dead money charge on the 2022 cap. Graziano states that is the max possible savings without a pay cut.