2019 Offseason Questions: When Will Big Ben’s Extension Get Done?

 The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.

How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: When will Ben Roethlisberger get his contract extended?

Considering the Steelers openly talked about how completing an extension for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was near the very top of their priorities list this offseason, it’s rather surprising that it has not been done by now.

The assumption was that the team would want to get it done prior to yesterday, on which his $5 million roster bonus would be triggered, but there have been no reports, official or otherwise, that the two sides completed such a deal.

In fact, there was even a report indicating the contrary, that there was still ground for the two parties to cover before they could reach a resolution, which frankly is somewhat disappointing to hear. While some of the major figures, including General Manager Kevin Colbert, are out on the Pro Day circuit right now, there are still other business matters to tend to.

It is unusual though not uncommon for an organization that is fully committed to a franchise quarterback to delay in signing that player to an extension, with Drew Brees being arguably the most notably exception.

It’s unclear what the hold up is in the contract negotiations, which are presumably ongoing, but perhaps Roethlisberger is hoping to claim a larger portion of the salary cap, or a bigger guarantee, than the Steelers are accustomed to giving—which is well within is rights.

In terms of per-year salary, Roethlisberger’s current contract ranks him just 15th among quarterbacks, and only four quarterbacks above him had a smaller portion of that contract guaranteed (the vast majority behind him had a larger percentage guaranteed as well).

Pittsburgh has a particular way of doing business, but their highest-profile athletes have put it under fire. With Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career, perhaps he is trying to needle the front office out of its usual ways as well, which would be disadvantageous in terms of the salary cap for 2019, as the larger the bonus is, the larger the cap hit will have to be.

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