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Steelers Not Ready To Commit To Big Ben As Their 2021 QB
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert had multiple chances during Wednesday's discussion with reporters to firmly stand behind Ben Roethlisberger being the team's QB in 2021.

Instead, Colbert gave lukewarm responses.

The GM told reporters that in meetings with himself, owner Art Rooney and coach Mike Tomlin, Big Ben reiterated he wants to continue to play.

"We told him quite frankly, we have to look at this situation," Colbert said.

As NFL Network's Kevin Patra notes, Roethlisberger is due to count $41.25 million against the Steelers' salary cap under his current contract. Pittsburgh brass has previously noted that something would need to be done with the QB's contract to remain on the roster. Big Ben has sounded amicable to finding a solution that allows him to stay with the Steelers QB for an 18th season.

Given Colbert's deliberate language, it's possible the Steelers are preparing to move on.

"As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers," Colbert said. "He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation."

Patra went on to suggest that Colbert's comments call to mind Rams GM Les Snead discussing Jared Goff right before L.A. dumped the QB in a trade for ?Matthew Stafford?.

If the Steelers move on from Roethlisberger, he'd still count $22.5 million against their salary cap.

It's possible Colbert's comments are meant to soften Big Ben in a move toward a team-friendly solution to the contract quandary. The GM noted that the Steelers' financial situation takes precedence in all decisions.

"Then we're making guesstimates as to what we can do to put the best team together for our sake and for Ben's sake," he said. "What kind of team can he anticipate being around him if we decide we can move forward together?"

The door isn't closed on Big Ben returning, but Colbert's language certainly wasn't as forceful or glowing as we've heard from the long-time GM in previous seasons.

"Ben Roethlisberger did a lot of really good things last year," Colbert said. "We anticipate that he could still do really good things going forward. Hopefully we can figure out how to do what's best for the organization and for Ben. Hopefully he'll be able to see that."

Colbert's comments are even more interesting when viewed in the context that Roethlisberger not only sees that, he said as much.

Hours after Rooney told reporters late last month that the team couldn't handle Roethlisberger‘s cap hit, Roethlisberger told reporters he'd have no problem restructuring his contract to help the team out.

Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of The Athletic on Jan. 28 that he agreed with everything Rooney said and was ready, willing and able to do what the Steelers need him to do to lower his massive cap hit for the 2021 season.

“I want to do everything I can and made that very clear to them from the very beginning that it was my idea to basically help the team however I can this year,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t care about my pay at all this year.”

Roethlisberger further indicated that he viewed 2021 as his last, best chance to win another Super Bowl ring, and he didn’t want his cap hit to hold the Steelers back.

“I am pretty sure I want to go one more year [because] I think I can do it and give us a real chance and winning,” Roethlisberger said.

Reducing Roethlisberger’s cap hit was always going to be the Steelers’ top priority this offseason. With Roethlisberger’s cooperation, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Unless the Steelers want it to be.