PITTSBURGH — Steelers president Art Rooney II told quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Tuesday the team wants him to return for the 2021 season, agent Ryan Tollner and other sources told the Post-Gazette.
Rooney met with Roethlisberger on Tuesday and told him the Steelers want him to come back for an 18th season. Rooney is expected to release a statement about Roethlisberger’s future on Wednesday.
Tollner said Roethlisberger wants to return and “we are open” to reworking his contract to help lessen his $41.2 million salary-cap hit, which is highest among all quarterbacks in the league. His cap hit will make up 23.7% of the team’s payroll, which is the second-highest percentage in the league.
Initially, the meeting with Roethlisberger was to take place with Rooney and coach Mike Tomlin, but Tomlin is recovering and isolating from a positive COVID-19 test and was not part of the discussion. That meeting is still to come.
Roethlisberger, though, has talked with Tomlin as recently as last week, but whatever plans the Steelers had for him were not specifically discussed.
To bring back their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, the Steelers will likely have to sign him to a new three-year deal in which they would take his salary ($4 million) and roster bonus ($15 million) and convert it into a signing bonus that would be prorated over three years. That would drastically reduce his cap hit for 2021.