Pittsburgh Steelers franchise quarterback Ben Rothlisberger re-structured his contract Thursday afternoon to help the team save cap space to make deals for several pending free agents.
One of Pittsburgh's most coveted wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster reacted on social media stating, "Now let's talk", as the former USC Trojan has yet to re-sign a new contract with the Steelers.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Rothlisberger signed a one-year contract worth $14 million to return to Pittsburgh in 2021. Rothlisberger took a $5 million dollar pay cut and decided to spread the cash payment through 2022 to help save the team $15 million in cap hit.
In lowering the cap hit, this allows the Steelers to make the moves they deem necessary to stay competitive in a tough AFC North.
Prior to Big Ben taking the generous pay cut, Pittsburgh was projected to have negative $15.5 million to spend on players this offseason according to a chart posted by ESPN's Diana Russini.
Now the Steelers will have some wiggle room, with about $8 million to potentially bring back their star receiver. And even though the former USC Trojan will demand more than $8 million per year, there are other ways the team can make space.
Whether it be using the franchise tag, or releasing other players currently on the roster, there's several options Pittsburgh has to accommodate JuJu's deal.
After all, Rothlisberger and Smith-Schuster have created a bond over the last four seasons together, and in 2020, the connection continued.
Of Rothlisberger's 399 completions last season, JuJu caught 97 of the passes. To add, the 24-year-old caught nine touchdown passes from the 39-year-old, who had 33 touchdowns on the year.
With Smith-Schuster's public desire to return to Pittsburgh for years to come, you have to think that this move will help the Steelers keep one of their best players. Not to mention that JuJu is a fan favorite among the entire Pittsburgh community.
Nonetheless, re-signing Rothlisberger could mean that the Black and Yellow are going all in for one more Super Bowl run. So while it's not set in stone, bringing back a quality receiver like Smith-Schuster could be well in play.
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