The Steelers announced today that they had agreed to terms with QB Ben Roethlisberger on a contract extension. Roethlisberger was entering the final year of his contract and it was long expected that a deal would get done sometime this offseason. No terms were released but given the Steelers have about $7 million in cap room I doubt they decreased Roethlisberger’s $18.4 millon cap charge significantly, if at all.
I would consider this the most important QB contract in the NFL since Drew Brees reached the $20 million mark in 2012. Big Ben comes from the heralded 2004 draft class that also produced Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, both of whom are in the final years of their contract’s. It is doubtful that either would consider an extension until Roethlisberger set the market for the veteran group. Roethlisberger set the same market back in 2008 when he was the first of the group to sign a new contract which eventually was jumped signficiantly by Manning in 2009.
One would guess that Roethlisberger will exceed Joe Flacco’s $20.1 million per year and possibly Matt Ryan’s $20.75 million a year unless he was willing to take a team friendly contract that ties more money to playoff performance. If he did the latter both Manning and Rivers will likely be disappointed. If he gets close to Aaron Rodgers $22 million number, expect a few more additions to the $21M plus club.
Traditionallly the Steelers do not use guarantees beyond the first year of the contract so that will make this contract interesting to break down. He had $11.6 million in non-guaranteed salary this season that will likely be included in his new guarantee. Id guess they would be aiming for a $64 million new money three year payout if he is in a position to exceed the Flacco deal. Rolling his old contract money into that it would be my guess for $76 million in cash coming the next 4 years.