As things stand right now, 2019 is scheduled to be the final contract year for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. However, and probably not surprisingly, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Saturday morning that the Steelers are expected to restructure and extend Roethlisberger’s contract before the 2019 NFL league begins in the middle of March
Schefter’s report isn’t earth-shattering and especially when you consider that Roethlisberger is due a $5 million roster bonus at the start of the new league year in addition to 2019 currently being his final year under contract.
Roethlisberger is currently set to earn a base salary in 2019 of $12 million and when combined with his $5 million roster bonus that’s due him in March and his past bonus prorations, his salary cap charge is scheduled to be $23.2 million. An extension for Roethlisberger prior to the new league that includes his roster bonus and a good portion of his 2019 base salary being added into whatever new signing bonus money he receives to sign should result in a somewhat lower cap charge for the quarterback next season, depending on the length of the extension and overall structure.
Roethlisberger said at around this same time last year that he wanted to play at least three more seasons and maybe even as many as five more. He set career highs in passing yards, completions and touchdowns thrown in 2018 and thus showed no signs that the end of his playing days is on the horizon.
“I feel like I’m in as good as shape as I’ve been in in a long time and I enjoy playing this game,” Roethlisberger said this past Tuesday during an interview on 93.7 The Fan. “The trainer has really made me, I think, better; put me in the best shape of my life. Probably one of the best seasons of my life and the linemen keep me healthy.”
During that same Tuesday interview, Roethlisberger was also asked about his contract situation and if he expects to sign an extension during the upcoming offseason.
“I’ll let the process kind of unfold itself,” Roethlisberger said when asked if he knows when he’ll sit down with the Steelers to try to work out a new deal. “If the Steelers want to talk, my agents and them, that’s what they’re paid to do. But like I said, if they want to have me, I’d love to be here.”
Roethlisberger will turn 37 on March 2 and the new league year will start on March 13. In short, he might be busy signing another contract extension on his birthday or just a few days prior to it. Roethlisberger’s last two contract extensions were signed in early March and there’s no reason to think his third one won’t follow suit when the Steelers return from the annual scouting combine.
Any extension for Roethlisberger this offseason would likely include a new money annual average of at least $25 million and maybe as high as $30 million. The New Orleans Saints, for example, signed quarterback Drew Brees to two-year contract extension last March that included $27 million guaranteed of which $13.5 million was a signing bonus and another $3.3 million in first year roster bonus. The Steelers could obviously do a longer extension with Roethlisberger.