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Ben Roethlisberger signs new contract with Steelers, takes $5M pay cut for 2021 season

Ben Roethlisberger's financial future has been solved for 2021.

The Steelers announced Thursday they have signed the veteran quarterback to a new contract for the upcoming season.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Roethlisberger's new contract includes a structure that will save the Steelers about $15 million in immediate cap space, helping the Steelers move closer to the projected salary cap, which has a floor of $180 million. The new deal achieves this lower cap number by utilizing a signing bonus, a minimum base salary and voidable years, with Roethlisberger helping out by taking a $5 million pay cut that lowers his 2021 salary from $19 million to $14 million, Pelissero added.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Big Ben will receive a $12.925 million signing bonus and a $1.075 million base salary as part of the new contract, which includes four voidable years in order to spread out his cap hit.

"We are excited we were able to come to an agreement with Ben Roethlisberger on a new contract for him to return to the Steelers in 2021," general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement released by the team. "We know that Ben can still play at a high level and do special things for this team. 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."

Pittsburgh now has the quarterback position figured out for this season, which we knew was the case once Roethlisberger and the team bridged their gap and announced they were willing to work out a creative restructure to his current deal, which was set to account for an exorbitant cap hit of $41.25 million in 2021. This just makes that expectation a reality.

"It is my greatest honor to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and give my all for this organization," Roethlisberger said in the same release. "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."

The contract details are important, though, because Pittsburgh was in a bit of a hole when it came to cap space, and all one needed to do to find an easy scapegoat was turn to the sage elder wearing No. 7.

There were a few different avenues the Steelers could take in attempting to restructure his deal to make it fit under the lowered 2021 cap, with most involving a kicking of the financial can down the road beyond the length of Big Ben's actual contract. Seeing as his existing deal expired after 2021, the importance of these negotiations existed on the financial side, and now that the Steelers have lowered Roethliberger's once massive cap number, they can go to work addressing other areas of need.

We know the future beyond this upcoming season is murky for the Steelers because of their situation under center. But the financial terms mattered because as the Steelers have stated -- it is their intention to remain competitive. They'll need cap space to achieve that goal, and have created some with this deal.

We'll see how their since-completed talks end up affecting Pittsburgh's chances of assembling a quality roster in 2021.

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