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Steelers president Art Rooney II told reporters last Thursday that Ben Roethlisberger wants to come back and has told the team that, but Rooney said they can't do it at his current salary and Roethlisberger knows that.
Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic last week that he doesn't care about how much he gets paid this year at all and he's willing to restructure his contract to lower his $41.25 million cap hit for 2021 that includes $19 million in bonus and salary that can be restructured.
It's unclear just how much Roethlisberger is willing to play for in 2021. However, the Steelers are set to have 19 unrestricted free agents in March and they are projected to be roughly $30 million over the cap due to the league losing revenue in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cap floor for 2021 is $175 million, so Roethlisberger restructuring his contract or possibly taking a pay cut will certainly help free up some money.
Bouchette is skeptical about Roethlisberger returning, however.
"I just don't know if this is all going to work out, and I've been told it still might not," Bouchette said on 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday.
Bouchette just doesn't see Roethlisberger not caring about his salary and getting paid significantly less than what other franchise quarterbacks make.
"Talking to Ben, he'd like to get something done. They'd like to get something done. And I know he said he doesn't care about his salary, but I don't believe that for a minute," Bouchette said. "I believe that they're going to have to pay him where he's not going to be embarrassed to come back and play."
Bouchette also said that after listening to both sides, especially Rooney, he doesn't feel like the Steelers are fully embracing Roethlisberger returning.
Bouchette said he's been told by sources that it might not work out with Roethlisberger returning, but a lot of it is just his opinion on the situation.
According to Overthecap.com, Roethlisberger has made a career earning of $252,724,382 and that doesn't include endorsements. It would ultimately come down to ego if Roethlisberger would be embarrassed to come back and play while getting paid a salary significantly lower than what the quarterback market dictates.
As mentioned, Roethlisberger even said that he doesn't care about how much he gets paid this year at all and is willing to do whatever he can to help the team out cap-wise. At this point of his career, if Roethlisberger really wants to still play and get the chance to win another Super Bowl, I don't think the money would matter to him. He's already made a king's ransom in his career, there's nothing to be embarrassed about.