I’ll admit that I am not the most salary cap educated person in the world. So this is me stumbling into the deep end of the pool with my floaties on. But it doesn’t take an expert either to recognize that in the long-game of it all, Ben Roethlisberger’s contract is now dirt cheap.
Signing a four year extension in March of 2015, just over two years ago, made Roethlisberger the second highest paid QB in the NFL ($21.9 average yearly value), a blade of grass behind Aaron Rodgers. Fast forward to today. With the ink drying on Derek Carr’s mega-deal, Roethlisberger is now the eighth highest paid quarterback.
Ahead of him? Still Rodgers, of course, and now Carr. Add to that list Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Joe Flacco, and Russell Wilson. Matthew Stafford is going to leapfrog Roethlisberger, and perhaps every other name on that list, in the near-future. Others will follow.
At the time, CBS ran this headline: “Ben Roethlisberger’s new contract sets record marks for quaterbacks.”
Now, it looks like a bargain. This is likely the final contract the team will ever need to give him with another two years left after this season, running through the 2019 season. It’s not to say that Roethlisberger is Oliver Twist, he’s still getting paid handsomely, but as the salary cap gets more bloated, the franchise can more easily absorb that hit. For this season, his cap charge is low and though it goes up the final two seasons, isn’t likely to be tops in the league despite it being the backloaded portion of the deal, often the most expensive part.
These days, his retirement is closer than it is farther away. He isn’t going to be Tom Brady, wanting or choosing to play until he’s 40. Roethlisberger’s style of play, and some shoddy offensive line craftsmanship for the first half of his career, won’t let that happen.
We’ll play the will-he, won’t-he game over retirement each offseason until it happens. He won’t linger. He’ll play well, hopefully win another Super Bowl, and move onto life’s work.
It’ll be a quality rest of his career. And for that matter, a pretty cheap one.