Ben Roethlisberger’s agent, Ryan Tollner, says that contract negotiations have been ongoing between the Steelers and Roethlisberger’s camp. In an interview with ESPN, the Rep1Sports agent said, “There’s been ongoing (contract) discussions for quite awhile…I think from the time we did the first extension there was sort of a plan moving forward.” He went on to say, “There’s a plan in place, but both sides are pretty committed to doing that privately and not having it be something that’s discussed in the media.”
It seems that lately many have forgotten how the Steelers do business. Quietly. Privately. Out of the spotlight. So often people leap to believe rumors about an organization so notoriously tight lipped.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Ian Rapoport was reporting a trade was in Ben’s future, even when Ben insisted he wanted to stay in Pittsbugh and retire a Steeler. General Manager Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II also emphatically asserted that having him retire in Pittsburgh was a priority. Colbert went as far as to say, “It’s unanimous that we want Ben to be a Steeler for the rest of his career.”
While extending Roethlisberger could easily reduce his 2014 cap number of $18.895 Mil by $4 Mil or more, doing so isn’t nearly as urgent as it seemed just a couple months ago. With the 2014 salary cap being considerably higher than what was projected, and LaMarr Woodley’s $8 Mil base salary coming off the books after June 1st, the team can afford to take their time working on an extension with their franchise quarterback.
While many believe that Ben is going demand/get “Flacco money”, I don’t believe it’s the likely scenario. His agent will surely want to hit that $20 Mil/year magic number, but the contract can (and should likely) be structured to average in the range of $17.5-$18 Mil/year. New money being what’s most important, a 4 year extension in the neighborhood of $80 Mil would satisfy that $20 Mil/year average, but including the last 2 years of his existing contract, you’re looking at the lower average mentioned above.
Since there is no real rush to extend Ben Roethlisberger, don’t expect to hear any news soon. While they certainly could reach a deal this summer, it may well be that they wait until next spring to finalize an extension.