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Steelers are running it back with Ben Roethlisberger in 2021, but was it the right decision?

Updated: Jul 27, 2021


(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)


Ever since the Steelers embarrassing loss to the Browns in the first round of the playoffs, many wondered if Ben Roethlisberger would be back for an 18th season. Speculation grew when Roethlisberger's close friend and teammate, Maurkice Pouncey, announced his retirement last month, and then five days later Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert gave a non-committal response when asked if Roethlisberger would be back in 2021.


It appeared that the Steelers were at a crossroads with their franchise quarterback. In late January, team president Art Rooney II said they would like Roethlisberger back for another season, but it couldn't happen with a $41.25 million cap hit. Roethlisberger also texted Ed Bouchette of The Athletic that he didn't care how much he got paid in 2021 and was willing to do whatever he can to help the team out.


After discussions with the Steelers brass in Rooney, Colbert and Mike Tomlin, the Steelers signed Roethlisberger to a new contract for 2021 on Thursday. A little over a week before, Rooney released a statement that the team and Roethlisberger agreed to a contract restructure, but it was just a matter of getting it done.


Roethlisberger was true to his word and took a $5 million pay cut. He'll make $14 million and save the team more than $15 million in salary-cap space in 2021. The new deal includes a $12.925 million signing bonus, a $1.075 million base salary and four voidable years to push a $10.36 million cap hit into 2022. The Steelers are now $3.6 million under the cap due to Roethlisberger's contract restructure, according to Overthecap.com.