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Rooney on his discussion with Ben: 'Part of the concern is putting a (competitive) team around him'

(Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)

The Steelers will look drastically different in 2021 from last year. There's just no way around it. They have 19 unrestricted free agents and some of them will command big pay days. And the Steelers just won't be able to compete with what some of the other teams will offer.

They're in a salary cap crunch, as they're currently projected to be around $19 million over the cap, according to They 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.

Team president Art Rooney II said on Wednesday that they want Ben Roethlisberger as their quarterback in 2021, but they just have to figure out his cap situation and reduce his $41.25 million cap hit.

With all the changes and uncertainty surrounding the Steelers, many wondered why the soon-to-be 39-year-old Roethlisberger would want play another year if the team most likely won't contend for a Super Bowl.

The team the Steelers will put together in 2021 was one of the talking points when Rooney met with Roethlisberger on Tuesday.

"Part of the concern is putting a (competitive) team around him, and we had a good discussion about that," Rooney told Bob Labriola of "We know there are still a lot of pieces to the puzzle that still have to fall into place this season, and we're hard at work trying to make that happen."

No matter who the Steelers have on the field in 2021, it seems like Roethlisberger is all-in to play at least one more season. Many wonder why, as they see the Steelers not make the playoffs this year and potentially having their first losing season since 2003, but you can't discount Roethlisberger's competitiveness. I'm sure he doesn't want his last game of his career to be remembered as him sitting on the bench with Maurkice Pouncey after the Browns' upset the Steelers 48-37 in the first-round of the playoffs.

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