The Pittsburgh Steelers decided not to extend the contract of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last offseason and now that 2014 was a career year for him, his price tag has more than likely deservedly increased. That, however, doesn’t seem to bother team president Art Rooney II, who talked with the Pittsburgh media Wednesday about the possibility of getting an extension done with the quarterback between now and the start of the 2015 season.
“I will take that problem,” said Rooney, according to Bob Labriola of steelers.com. “I’m happy to have a player who had a great year. I would rather have that situation than the reverse. I’m not complaining about it. It is what it is. We will just have to deal with the circumstances as they present themselves in this offseason.”
In past contractual dealings with Roethlisberger the Steelers extended him in the spring and with two years left on the deal that was currently in place. While the team would undoubtedly like to have Roethlisberger’s newest extension put to bed prior to the start of the new league year in March, Rooney refused to put any sort of a timeframe on when the two sides would come to an agreement during his talk Wednesday.
“Obviously we would like to get it done this offseason, and I think it’s fair to say the sooner the better,” said Rooney, according to Labrialo’s report, “but I’m not going to put any particular time frame on these things. It’s kind of hard to predict how long it takes to get something done, but we certainly want to get something done this offseason. That’s for sure. It takes two to tango when it comes to contract negotiations. I’m not expecting a problem, but again, I hate to put predictions on those kinds of things.”
Roethlisberger’s new extension could ultimately come with an average yearly value of new money greater than that of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who’s latest deal averages $22 million a season. Rodgers deal included $54 million guaranteed of which $35 million was a signing bonus. In addition to that, $3.5 million of the total deal is tied to offseason workout bonuses and another $3.6 million tied to per game day active bonuses.
Roethlisberger is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $11.6 million in 2015 and due to his previous contract restructures, $6.795 million of his $18.395 million scheduled cap charge for 2015 will stay on the books this upcoming year regardless of how the new extension is structured.
The biggest obstacle when it comes to a new extension for Roethlisberger will be the guaranteed money portion. Remember, signing bonuses can only be amortized on the books for a maximum of five years, so giving him a $30 million to sign a four-year extension, for example, would mean that Roethlisberger’s 2015 cap charge will start at $12.795 million with whatever his new base salary for 2015 being tacked on top of that.
Ideally, the Steelers should consider paying Roethlisberger a guaranteed base salary in 2015 of around $5.6 million. In doing that it would elevate his 2015 cap charge to right at where it was scheduled to be in 2015 prior to the extension based on a $30 million signing bonus in the example above. The other guaranteed money could come in the form of second and third year roster bonuses guaranteed for skill and injury. That’s how Rodgers contract was structured.
In case you’re curious, the deal that Roethlisberger signed back in 2008 was considered an eight-year, $102 million contract that included $33.2 million in guarantees of which $25.2 million was a signing bonus.
I am very confident that a new deal will get done with Roethlisberger and hopefully it will happen prior to the start of the new league year.