Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t likely to sign a contract extension before the start of the 2018 regular season and if that’s ultimately the case, it will be interesting to see if he signs one by this same time next year. Roethlisberger, who spent his Father’s Day working with kids at his annual football camp, told ESPN that he isn’t too worried about if he’ll sign a new deal in the coming years.
“I have two years on my contract. I’m not going to be one to sit here and worry about my contract,” said Roethlisberger, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “That’s not my job. My job is to play football. I’ll let my representation, the Steelers worry about all that stuff. To me, it’s all about going out and playing now. I think there are a lot more, maybe a lot more important people who need to get their deals done now. For me to do it two years out, it if doesn’t make sense for the team, I’m not going to sit here and worry about it.”
One deal the Steelers are currently attempting to get done prior to July 16 is with running back Le’Veon Bell, who was given the franchise tag a second consecutive year this past February. After negotiations with Bell are over, the Steelers will likely turn their full attention to getting kicker Chris Boswell signed to a contract extension prior to the start of the regular season.
Roethlisberger made it clear after the 2017 season ended that he hopes to play at least three more seasons and maybe even as many as five more. However, in order to play at least three more in Pittsburgh with the Steelers, he’ll either need to sign an extension by the start of the 2020 season or have been given the franchise tag by then.
Personally, and as I have written a few times over the course of the offseason, I won’t be too surprised if the Steelers ultimately let Roethlisberger play out his current contract and then possible start making him the team’s franchise player after that.
This past March, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was interviewed by Mike Florio on PFT Live while at the annual league meetings in Florida and he was asked about a possible contract extension for Roethlisberger this offseason and specifically, if he feels any urgency to get something done with the quarterback before Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, or any other quarterback, crosses over the $30 million per season threshold.
“No, I mean really, markets are markets and we’ll recognize that at the appropriate time, but the appropriate time right now is not dealing with Ben and I can’t say when that will occur,” Colbert said. “But right now, we have to take care of some more immediate-type business and we’re pretty much through the free agency period. Let’s get through the draft, see where we stand. Again, his values have been determined by him. Of course you recognize the market, but Ben’s a great quarterback. He’s going to be a Hall of Fame quarterback and again, as long as we can have him and he still wants to play, then it’s our job to make that happen.”
Obviously, the draft has now come and gone and that annual event brought yet another younger quarterback to Pittsburgh in the form of third-round selection Mason Rudolph, who many now believe will be the one to succeed Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. Rudolph’s rookie contract will expire after the 2021 season so the Steelers have plenty of time to evaluate him in addition to monitoring how Roethlisberger plays over the course of the next few seasons.
Theoretically, the Steelers could keep Roethlisberger around through the 2021 season via letting him play out his current contract and then giving him the franchise tag consecutive years after that. In short, new contract or not, Roethlisberger still stands to earn quite a bit of money over the course of the next four seasons as long as there’s no drop off in his level of play. He’s obviously still very capable of winning a few more Super Bowls before finally retiring and it sounds like that’s the only thing on his mind right now, not his contract.
“I care about record-breaking Super Bowl wins and things like that — that’s more important to me,” Roethlisberger said Sunday.