Ben Roethlisberger remains in limbo as the Pittsburgh Steelers determine whether they can find a path forward with their franchise quarterback.
NFL Network reported on Monday that Roethlisberger and the Steelers have not scheduled the expected contract talks pegged as integral in determining whether he will return to the team in 2021.
Roethlisberger, who has the highest salary-cap number in the NFL for the 2021 season at $41.25 million, has said publicly he would accept a pay cut to play in Pittsburgh next season.
One week has passed since Steelers team president Kevin Colbert informed the media in vague terms that Roethsliberger’s status for 2021 was to be determined.
“He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation,” Colbert said.
Colbert described Roethlisberger as being a member of the team “as we sit here today” on February 17.
One possible reason for the delay: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s unclear how Tomlin’s health might factor into the ongoing cliffhanger with the Steelers.
Owner Art Rooney II said in January that Big Ben’s 18th season with the Steelers couldn’t happen under the terms of his current contract. Roethlisberger is due to earn $19 million next season, with $4 million in salary and $15 million coming as a roster bonus on the third day of the 2021 league year.
“We’ve left that door open,” Rooney said. “We’ve been up front with Ben in letting him know that we couldn’t have him back under the current contract.”
Roethlisberger turns 39 on March 2. He threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 15 games this season. The two-time Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl selection said after Pittsburgh’s wild-card playoff loss to Cleveland on Jan. 10 that he has not made a decision about his future.
Roethlisberger threw for 501 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in the 48-37 loss to the Browns.
Roethlisberger’s agent, Ryan Tollner, reiterated last month to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the longtime Steelers star would be amenable to making things work for the team.
“Ben knows he has more left, but having key players back … will be important,” Tollner told the Gazette. “Ben’s contract won’t hold things up. We told them immediately after the season we will make any necessary adjustment to help their cap situation in 2021.”
Roethlisberger has thrown for 60,348 yards with 396 touchdowns and 201 interceptions in 233 career games since Pittsburgh selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 draft.