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Rooney says Roethlisberger must rework contract; QB doesn't care about pay

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II confirmed Ben Roethlisberger wants to continue playing next season, but the club won't retain the quarterback unless his contract is renegotiated.

"We've left that door open. We've been up front with Ben in letting him know that we couldn't have him back under the current contract," Rooney said Thursday, according to Joe Rutter of Trib Live.

Roethlisberger carries a league-leading $41.2-million cap hit for 2021, according to Spotrac. The Steelers would incur a $22-million dead cap hit if the signal-caller is cut, but a departure would save them $19 million.

"I think we'd like to see Ben back for another year if that can work, but as we've said, there's a lot of work to be done to see if that can happen," Rooney said, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

He added: "I don't want to go too far down that road because we have a lot of discussions internally and with Ben. (The) salary cap and Ben's contract is a big factor in where we go. That's as much as I can say."

Despite the obstacles, Roethlisberger believes he'll be able to play one more season and said he doesn't mind restructuring his deal.

"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," the 38-year-old told The Athletic's Ed Bouchette.

He added: "I don't care about my pay at all this year."

The veteran's deal is one of many obstacles the Steelers face in the coming months as they try to navigate through a salary-cap crunch. Pittsburgh is projected to be $28.5 million over the cap and also faces the prospect of multiple free-agent departures such as those of Bud Dupree and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Roethlisberger has spent his entire 17-year career with the Steelers. He threw 33 touchdowns to 10 interceptions this season while guiding Pittsburgh to a playoff appearance.

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