“Big Ben” takes a small pay cut.
On Thursday, the Steelers announced that they have signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract for the 2021, effectively restructuring the remaining money on Roethlisberger’s contract and ending a months-long odyssey of the two parties dancing around one another in contract discussions.
We have signed QB Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract for 2021.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 4, 2021
“It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization,” Roethlisberger said in a statement. “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.”
Earlier in the offseason, Steelers brass indicated they would have liked to keep Roethlisberger around, just at a cheaper number than his $40 million cap hit he was scheduled to take into the 2021 season.
With Pittsburgh up against the cap and several key free agents — including wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and linebacker Bud Dupree — the team needed some wiggle room, which the restructured quarterback contract has given them.
“We know that Ben can still play at a high level and do special things for this team,” Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said. “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.”
Here’s how Roethlisberger’s new deal shakes out:
Ben Roethlisberger contract details
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Roethlisberger agreed to take a $5 million pay cut in the final year of his contract (2021), spreading his cash pay out into the 2022 season.
The move lowered Roethlisber’s 2021 cap hit by $15 million, down from the $41.2 million hit he was scheduled to account for in 2021. Roethlisberger was originally set to become a free agent following the 2021 season. Roethlisberger’s original cap number was the highest of any player in the league entering 2021.
Ben Roethlisberger willingly reduced his pay to $14M from $19M in this final year of his contract and spread the cash payment through 2022, per source. It lowered the cap hit by over $15M, all so the team can make the right moves to be as competitive as possible this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2021
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that some of Roethlisberger’s money was converted into a signing bonus, with an out after the first season.
#Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s new contract for 2021 utilizes a signing bonus, minimum base salary and voidable years to free up about $15 million of cap space, per source. Big Ben takes a $5M paycut, from $19M to $14M, giving the team much-needed breathing room.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 4, 2021
Per Spotrac, the cap hit the Steelers are expected to face is still over $22 million, but the Steelers still make out well in opening up cap space.
The 2021 cap hit on Ben Roethlisberger’s new contract starts at $22.25M. This is the (inflexible) dead cap that must rollover from the previous deal.
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 4, 2021