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Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert spoke with the Pittsburgh media today and the elephant in the room was the situation with Ben Roethlisberger and whether he'll return for an 18th season with the Steelers. Roethlisberger has stated that he wants to come back and is willing to do whatever he can to help the team in regards to lowering his $41.25 million cap hit. Roethlisberger even told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic last month that he doesn't care how much he gets paid in 2021.
According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network, Colbert said that in meetings with him, Art Rooney II and Mike Tomlin, Roethlisberger has reiterated he wants to continue to play. Colbert said they told Roethlisberger, "Quite frankly, we have to look at this situation."
That's definitely not a strong endorsement of wanting Roethlisberger to return from Colbert.
Kinkhabwala said Colbert had every opportunity to make it clear that Roethlisberger will be their quarterback in 2021 no matter what, but he did not.
It will all come down to the finances with Roethlisberger, and the Steelers have made it clear that he needs to restructure his contract or take a massive pay cut. The Steelers are projected to be around $22 million over the salary cap and are most likely to lose JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bud Dupree and Alejandro Villanueva in free agency. Vance McDonald and Maurkice Pouncey have retired. Randy Fichtner is gone and Matt Canada is the new offensive coordinator. Is this a team that Roethlisberger will want to return to?
The Steelers are just looking for a compromise between Roethlisberger. He has said he'll do whatever he can to help the team out cap-wise. Would he go as far as playing for the league veteran minimum if that's what the Steelers want? That's unclear. Right now it just seems like the Steelers and Roethlisberger are trying to find a way to meet in the middle and do what's best for both sides.