Steelers Set March 17 Deadline for Ben Roethlisberger's Revised 2021 Contract

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) plays against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger have both indicated they hope to remain together in 2021, the team has set a deadline for revising its star quarterback's contract. 

Steelers president Art Rooney II told reporters Friday that March 17 is the final day the team would renegotiate the pact.

"Hopefully we'll work something out before that, but certainly if you want to say there's a hard deadline, March 17 would be it," Rooney said. 

That date is the first day of the new league year, and the front office has several key decisions to make when free agency begins.

Roethlisberger is set to count $41.25 million against the 2021 cap, the largest hit among all quarterbacks in the NFL, per Over the Cap.

In addition, the Steelers are $19.1 million over a projected $180.5 million cap. The NFL has yet to finalize the cap for next season, but a memo from the league to the NFL Players Association said it won't be lower than $180 million. 

Rooney told reporters last month that Roethlisberger's contract is "a big factor in where we go." Big Ben told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic he's willing to work with the Steelers to restructure his deal to reduce that cap hit. 

After playing just two games during the 2019 season because of an elbow injury, Roethlisberger made a successful return in 2020. The six-time Pro Bowler threw for 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 

Pittsburgh won the AFC North with a 12-4 record but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card Round.