Ben Roethlisberger suggested taking a pay cut to stay with Steelers: 'It was necessary'

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Ben Roethlisberger knew he had to sacrifice something in order to stay with the Pittsburgh Steelers. To make things work, Roethlisberger suggested taking a smaller salary in order to help the Steelers' salary cap situation, he revealed Tuesday.

Roethlisberger, 39, said the move was necessary if he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh.

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Roethlisberger re-signed with the Steelers in March, taking a $6 million pay cut. Roethlisberger will make $14 million in 2021 after making a little over $19 million in 2020. It's only a one-year deal, leaving the door open for Roethlisberger to retire, play elsewhere or do all of this again next offseason.

Steelers looking for another Super Bowl with Ben Roethlisberger

Prior to the 2020 NFL season, Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery, which he described as a "total reconstruction." While his numbers were solid — Roethlisberger threw for 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions — he struggled with the deep ball, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt in 2020. That figure was up compared to 2019, but down considerably compared to Roethlisberger's 7.7 career mark. He said his arm felt good during offseason workouts, and is hoping for more success on deep throws in 2021.

A stronger season from Roethlisberger would make the Steelers a decent bet to make a Super Bowl run. The team went 12-4 last year, winning the AFC North. The Steelers had a disappointing end, losing to the Cleveland Browns in the wild-card round.

Oddsmakers at BetMGM don't feel great about the Steelers recapturing that greatness. The team is +400 to win the AFC North in 2021. They sit behind both the Baltimore Ravens (+115) and the Cleveland Browns (+150) to win the division.

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