Much of the talk during this offseason building up to the Pittsburgh Steelers completing a two-year extension with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was of the notion of them getting him under a contract that would see him through to the end of his career.
The conversation has changed now that the final tally of his deal has come in at just three years, a length of time that will only carry him through his age-39 season, which apparently is no longer incredibly old for a quarterback, with Tom Brady and Drew Brees setting new standards for longevity in that regard.
Steelers President Art Rooney II was the first to broach that topic soon after the deal was completed, commenting prior to the draft, “I’m not going to assume that” this will be Roethlisberger’s final contract. “We have quarterbacks playing in this league into their 40s now. So, who knows? I don’t think we have to assume that. When you get into this age it’s still unusual for a player to play, let’s say, into his 40s, but it’s not unprecedented at this point. And I think Ben takes care of himself and takes care of body and loves the game. So I would say, who knows?”.
Roethlisberger is coming off a season in which he threw for over 5000 yards and 34 touchdowns, both of them being both career-highs and franchise-highs. His yardage total also represented the second time in his career in which he led the league in that category. Though he still did not make the Pro Bowl.
While speaking to Mike Florio recently, General Manager Kevin Colbert also weighed in on the quarterback’s potential future as it concerns life after his current contract, which runs through the 2021 season.
“I know he doesn’t have an expiration date. We just felt that that was a foreseeable future that we were able to do, and he was agreeable to”, he said. “But I’m sure that he doesn’t have an expiration date. I know that he’s still very competitive. He still wants to do this at a high level”.
“He doesn’t need money, he doesn’t need Hall of Fame credentials in my opinion”, he added. “He’s already achieved both of those. What he wants is more Super Bowls. And he wants to continue to try to win, and we’re gonna support that. And that was a big part of why we were willing to do what we did, and now it’s our job to help him help us get there.”
Roethlisberger has brought the Steelers to three Super Bowls in his 15 seasons and has helped them win two. He has posted a record of 144-69-1 over the course of his career. His 56194 passing yards ranks sixth all-time (and he would need another 5000-yard season to get to fifth in 2019), while his 363 passing touchdowns is seventh. On that list, he’ll have a long wait. Philip Rivers is a moving target 11 ahead of him, while Dan Marino has 420. The top four all have over 500. He surely would have to play beyond the length of his current contract to reach the upper echelon in those categories.