Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is doing his part to help the team get under the 2012 salary cap.
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The Pro Bowler joined linebackers Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley and cornerback Ike Taylor in restructuring his contract to make sure the perennial AFC contenders get under the cap by March 13.
This is the second time in six months Roethlisberger has reworked the eight-year, $102 million deal he signed in 2008. The new contract doesn’t affect the money or length of the deal but gives the Steelers some much needed cap relief. Roethlisberger was scheduled to make $11.6 million in 2012 but the new deal will save the Steelers several million next season.
The team hopes to use some of the money freed up by restructuring to address the contract status of wide receiver Mike Wallace, who will be a restricted free agent.
General manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday in Indianapolis that he believes Wallace, elected to his first Pro Bowl this season, will remain with the team.
”We want Mike to finish his career with the Steelers,” Colbert said, ”and I’m confident Mike wants to finish his career with the Steelers.”
Wallace finished with a career-high 72 receptions last season and led the team with 1,193 receiving yards. As a restricted free agent, the Steelers would have the right to match any offer made to Wallace. If they choose not to match, they would receive at least a first-round draft pick as compensation.
The Steelers could re-sign Wallace to a new deal or give him the franchise tag, thought to be around $9 million next season. That’s an extremely expensive number. The team could tag Wallace then re-sign him later as they did with Woodley last summer.
Colbert is confident Wallace will stick around and thrive under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who will take over for Bruce Arians.
”We think Mike’s only scratched the surface on what he can do,” Colbert said, ”and we’re excited he can do it as a Steeler.”