Ben Roethlisberger extension could be next on quiet offseason agenda for Steelers |

Ben Roethlisberger extension could be next on quiet offseason agenda for Steelers

Joe Rutter
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger runs the ball in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Cincinnati.

While Antonio Brown was introduced by the Oakland Raiders and Le’Veon Bell agreed to terms with the New York Jets, their former team had its customary ho-hum start to the new NFL calendar season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced no splashy signings Wednesday, not even the reported three-year contract with former Kansas City cornerback Steven Nelson. They merely put out a news release welcoming back punter Jordan Berry and backup outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo and another confirming the draft picks acquired in trades involving Brown and right tackle Marcus Gilbert to the Arizona Cardinals.

In other words, all was quiet on the South Side front.

Contrast that to the West Coast, where Brown conducted his introductory news conference with the Oakland media, an event worthy of a live NFL Network telecast. The Steelers received third- and fifth-round selections in the April draft. It wasn’t the “significant compensation” general manager Kevin Colbert sought, but it provided extra pieces he desired for this draft class, which “we think is a draft that is beneficial to have as many picks as you can get.”

The Steelers will have four of the top 83 selections and 10 overall.

On the opposite coast, the Jets were putting the finishing touches on a four-year, $52.5 million deal with Bell that includes a $28 million signing bonus and $35 million guaranteed.

Per custom, the Steelers haven’t shelled out any exorbitant contracts this winter, although Nelson agreed to a reported three-year, $28.5 million deal and outside linebacker Bud Dupree’s $9.2 million fifth-year option became guaranteed at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

That could change in the coming days.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is entering the final year of his contract, is in line for an extension, which team president Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert called an offseason priority.

If the Steelers don’t get Roethlisberger to put pen to paper before Friday, they will owe the 37-year-old quarterback a $5 million roster bonus. That is money the Steelers would like to convert to a signing bonus that they can spread throughout the life of his next contract, which could span four or five seasons.

Roethlisberger will count $23.2 million against the $188.2 million salary cap unless his deal is restructured. The $17 million in cash due to Roethlisberger this season also is low for a veteran quarterback with three Super Bowl appearances and two championships.

Roethlisberger’s salary is tied for No. 12 among quarterback earnings for 2019 and his $12 million base salary is No. 15. Among average annual value, Roethlisberger’s $21.875 million figure ranks No. 13. To get Roethlisberger into the top five would necessitate a pay hike to at least $27 million.

How the Steelers structure their franchise quarterback’s final contract could determine the rest of their free-agency plan as they contemplate signing a wide receiver, inside linebacker or special teams contributor.

According to NFLPA figures, the Steelers entered free agency Wednesday with $9.9 million in cap space. That doesn’t account for the $4.9 million they saved in the Gilbert trade. It also doesn’t include the cap figures for the Nelson, Berry and Chickillo contracts.

The free-agent strategy for the Steelers is to keep their own, and they did that by retaining unrestricted free agents Tyson Alualu, Ramon Foster, Chickillo and Berry. They also extended the contract of center Maurkice Pouncey and offered tenders to restricted free agents B.J. Finney and Xavier Grimble.

Next up is Roethlisberger.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.