One source said the Rooney family is loyal to Polamalu and that he has been too valuable to the franchise to let go. The sides will try to work out a restructured contract that will lower Polamalu's $10.88 million cap figure for the coming season, or the Steelers could get the eight-time Pro Bowler to accept a pay cut.
Polamalu, who turns 33 next month, played every snap last season and recorded 85 tackles, intercepted two passes and forced five fumbles.
A 12-year veteran, Polamalu has 710 tackles, 32 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles with the Steelers. He won The Associated Press' defensive player of the year award in 2010.
After signing outside linebacker Jason Worilds to a one-year, $9.75 million transition tender Tuesday, the Steelers are $15.5 million over the cap, according to ESPN Stats & Info, and they have some work to do to get in compliance with the cap before next Tuesday.
Polamalu, who has long been one of the faces of the franchise, told ESPN.com last December he plans to honor his contract, which has one year left. Steelers president Art Rooney II said during a conference call with season-ticket holders in February that he wants Polamalu to retire a Steeler.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN.com Steelers reporter Scott Brown contributed to this report.