QB Roethlisberger is eager to land new contract with Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger doesn't want to think about the decision he might have to make a year from now.
If the Steelers don't sign him to a new contract, might he play out the final season of his deal and become a free agent?
“I have no clue,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday. “All I worry about is playing ball in Pittsburgh and giving it everything I have.
“If my agent (Ryan Tollner) says something relevant comes up — (Tollner and the Steelers) are probably talking and doing small talk — then let me know. If not, I don't care.”
Team president Art Rooney II said in January the Steelers are determined to have Roethlisberger play his entire career in Pittsburgh, and the quarterback said he intends to do exactly that, but no deal appears imminent.
If a contract isn't finalized before the Sept. 7 opener against Cleveland, there would be no negotiations during the season, per team policy. Then the Steelers would be in the potentially precarious situation of having a franchise quarterback signed for only one more season.
Even at age 34, as Roethlisberger would be entering free agency, he likely is to have multiple suitors offering major money for a two-time Super Bowl winner.
Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Eli Manning are the only current quarterbacks with more than one Super Bowl victory, yet 10 other QBs own bigger contracts than Roethlisberger. And 10 others have larger annual salaries.
Consider this: Jay Cutler's $126.7 million contract with the Bears is worth nearly $40 million more than Roethlisberger's deal, which will pay him $12.1 million this season and $11.6 million in 2015.
But paying Roethlisberger commensurate with the top-scale quarterbacks — Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning among them — could prove difficult for the perennially salary cap-challenged Steelers. Roethlisberger hasn't suggested what it would take to sign to him to what likely will be his final contract or how much of a hometown discount, if any, he is willing to accept.
And while Roethlisberger insists he doesn't want to play anywhere else — he laughed off reports last season that he might want to be traded — he wasn't happy with the 8-8 seasons of 2012 and '13 or the Steelers' decision to bypass a receiver in the first three rounds of this month's NFL Draft.
In January, general manager Kevin Colbert said the Steelers needed to give Roethlisberger the players he needed to excel. But they didn't land any of the elite receivers — Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and, possibly, Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee — who helped make this draft one of the best in decades.
At the time, Roethlisberger said he was upset.
“I got caught up in doing what I always say not to do, and that's listen to the media,” Roethlisberger said. “(The Steelers) obviously have their agenda, the things they want, and they got two guys that they felt can help this team” in running back-receiver Dri Archer (third round) and receiver Martavis Bryant (fourth round).
Roethlisberger is not the only quarterback from the 2004 draft who could become a free agent in 2016. Manning (No. 1), Philip Rivers (No. 4) and Roethlisberger (No. 11) — the first three quarterbacks chosen in 2004 — are signed through 2015.
“I'd like to be here for the rest of my career,” Roethlisberger said. “Whenever that is.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Steelers’ Heyward looking to stay for long haul
- Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule
- Steelers claim QB-turned-WR Gardner
- Steelers guard Foster likes offense’s direction heading into season
- Former Steelers linebacker Robinson dies
- Steelers’ Lemon hopes to put squeeze on opposing QBs
- NFL moves PAT back to 15-yard line
- Steelers gamble Chickillo can make transition to outside linebacker
- Starkey: Clayton, Steelers and ‘Shouldergate’
- Steelers sign first-round pick Dupree