If (and when) Roethlisberger is punished, the franchise is facing a fine upwards of six figures -- possibly in the neighborhood of $200,000 -- for the behavior of Roethlisberger and former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, according to a league source.
Two seasons ago, when the NFL implemented its personal conduct policy, it also mandated that teams would be responsible for their players' off-the-field transgressions. If any player ran afoul of the policy's personal conduct guidelines, a team also would be accountable.
How much the Steelers will be penalized won't be determined until after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decides on any punishment for Roethlisberger, which is not likely to come until after next week's draft. Sources both in and around the league believe Roethlisberger will receive a suspension of between two and four games.
Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student early in March. He was not charged in the incident. Holmes, traded by Pittsburgh to the New York Jets for a draft pick earlier this week, faces a lawsuit in Florida from a woman who accuses him of throwing a glass at her in an Orlando nightclub. He was also arrested for marijuana possession in 2008 and was involved in a domestic violence indicent in 2006 (misdemeanor charges in that case were dismissed).
When a player forfeits salary during the time of a suspension, a team must forfeit a percentage of the money it no longer is paying the player. There is a ceiling on how much a team must pay the NFL, which is why the Steelers fine could top out at about $200,000. But it is the NFL's way of reinforcing how important it is to protect its image.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider.