Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers had already committed to at least one more year together, but now the veteran quarterback's return is official. Just over a week after Roethlisberger's agent confirmed the QB would stay in Pittsburgh for his 18th season, the Steelers announced Thursday they have signed the 39-year-old to a new 2021 contract.
CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones estimated Roethlisberger would be taking a "big-time pay cut that will reduce his $41.25 million salary cap hit," easily the biggest impediment to the Steelers' financial flexibility ahead of the 2021 offseason. As ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio notes, the fact the Steelers simply restructured Roethlisberger's final remaining season suggests they will not be extending the QB's contract beyond 2021 -- at least for now -- and echoed Jones: This amounts to little more than a massive pay cut, which was all but necessary for Pittsburgh to enter free agency under the cap.
The actual restructuring lowers Roethlisberger's cap hit by more than $15 million in 2021, with the QB reducing his forthcoming salary from $19M to $14M and spreading the remaining payments through 2022, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora confirms.
"We are excited we were able to come to an agreement with Ben Roethlisberger on a new contract for him to return to the Steelers in 2021," general manager Kevin Colbert announced in a team release. "We know that Ben can still play at a high level and do special things for this team. Our goal remains the same -- to put together a roster that will compete for another championship. We are happy that Ben will be one of our leaders to help us accomplish that goal."
Roethlisberger was entering the final year of a two-year, $68 million extension signed in 2019.
"It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization," he said in the team release. "I am grateful to be at this stage of my career and more than happy to adjust my contract in a way that best helps the team to address other players who are so vital to our success. I love this game and love to compete, and I believe in this team and my ability to deliver when called upon. It all starts with great preparation and I am ready to go."