The speculation can finally end. The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a one-year contract, ensuring his return for the 2021 season, the team announced Thursday.
We have signed QB Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract for 2021.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 4, 2021
In a statement, Roethlisberger said he's excited to get started on the 2021 season.
"It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization," said Roethlisberger. "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."
Money was only thing in the way of Big Ben return
Since Roethlisberger and the Steelers expressed a mutual interest in having Big Ben return, the only thing that was ever in the way of Roethlisberger continuing his career with the Steelers was money. With the salary cap set to decrease due to the 2020 COVID-19 season, the Steelers needed to adjust his hefty salary in order to give themselves more financial flexibility. Roethlisberger, through his agent Ryan Tollner, said in late February that he was "happy to creatively adjust his contract" so he could return to the Steelers.
The Steelers didn't announce financial details, but ESPN's Adam Schefter filled in the missing information.
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
Roethlisberger, who turned 39 on Tuesday, has spent his entire 17-year career with the Steelers. It's unknown if 2021 will be his final season before retirement, but the one-year contract makes it easy if that's what he does.
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