The two sides decided they needed to take time apart following the season before convening to discuss the next steps, sources said.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II made it clear in his annual state of the Steelers news conference that Roethlisberger could not return on his $41.2 million cap hit for the 2021 season, the final year of his contract.
“I think we’ve been upfront with Ben in letting him know that we couldn’t have him back under the current contract,” Rooney said last week. “I think he understands we have some work to do there. We’ll have more conversations internally and we’ll have more conversations with Ben, and we’ll have to know what the cap number is to finalize some of those decisions.”
The quarterback understands the situation and is willing to provide the badly needed cap relief, sources told Fowler on Saturday.
“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 told The Athletic on Jan. 28.
The Steelers can save around $14 million in 2021 cap space if they convert most of his base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus, although they would carry over that money to future years.
Although the Steelers need to determine Roethlisberger’s future, they also have to hash out the future of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who will hit free agency in March, and center Maurkice Pouncey, who is considering retirement.