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May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin oversees drills during Steelers rookie mincamp and orientation at the UPMC Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers have tough choices, but Big Ben helping

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a tough offseason full of hard choices ahead, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants to help.

It won’t be easy for the Pittsburgh Steelers to contend in 2021.

After starting 11-0 this year, the Steelers fell apart. They finished 12-4, earning the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. In the Wild Card round, they were demolished by the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. Largely due to four turnovers in the first half.

Now, entering the offseason, general manager Kevin Colbert has a litany of decisions to make. The salary cap is causing major problems. According to Over The Cap, the Steelers are projected to be $35 million over the threshold entering the new league year, which begins March 17.

 

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However, there is some good news. According to ESPN, owner Art Rooney II has talked with Roethlisberger, and he’s willing to restructure the final year of his current deal, which is slated to be a $41 million cap hit.

“I think we’ve been up front with Ben in letting him know that we couldn’t have him back under the current contract,” Rooney said. “I think he understands we have some work to do there. We’ll have more conversations internally, and we’ll have more conversations with Ben, and we’ll have to know what the cap number is to finalize some of those decisions.”

This was confirmed by Ed Bouchette of The Athletic, who spoke to Roethlisberger.

 

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Roethlisberger renegotiating his deal is a great bit of news for Pittsburgh. However, there’s still going to be a considerable amount of pain. Center Maurkice Pouncey is retiring, and the list of free agents is long and impactful. Among the men hitting unrestricted free agency include running back James Conner, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, cornerbacks Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton, and edge rusher Bud Dupree.

No matter what kind of hometown discount Roethlisberger provides the Steelers, they are going to lose a bevy of talented players without the ability to sign ones in hopes of a quick fix. In short, Pittsburgh will have to do more with less in 2021, including an increasingly aging Roethlisberger.

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