Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Without a new deal, is Ben Roethlisberger done in Pittsburgh?

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is entering the final year of his current contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Roethlisberger said that “(he) will retire before he accepts a trade.”

The Steelers are planning to wait until the end of the 2014 season to talk about the possibility of re-signing their franchise quarterback of the past decade

So, who do you think will win this duel?

Roethlisberger may be entering the home stretch of what may be a possible Hall of Fame career when he finally calls it quits, whether that actually does happen this year or in the semi-near future.

Entering the 2014 campaign, the 2004 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, two-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion has thrown for 34,105 yards with 219 touchdowns and 122 interceptions, nearly a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio.  His career 92.6 quarterback rating is ranked seventh-best among his peers.  He has a 10-4 playoff record, throwing for 3,150 yards with 20 touchdowns in the NFL postseason.

 

 

However, the Steelers haven’t made the playoffs for the last two years, losing 29-23 to then-Tim Tebow’s Broncos in overtime in the AFC Wild Card game and last year was the first year since 2008 that Roethlisberger actually started in all 16 regular season games.  He has started in 15 games in four seasons, 13 in 2012 and started in 12 games twice.

Jul 26, 2014; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) participates in drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While Steelers owner Art Rooney II declared that Roethlisberger is his most important employee in an interview with Steelers.com, even Rooney may have to consider if Big Ben is actually worth the big money.

According to sources, Rothelisberger wants $20 million per year from a team that doesn’t even have $20 million in their salary cap.  The Steelers usually renegotiate deals with their starting quarterback two-years before the deal is done (Roethlisberger has two years left on his eight-year, $108 million contract), putting both Rooney and Roethlisberger on a collision course for renegotiation.

He has a base salary of $12.1 million this season, somewhat of a hometown discount considering the higher-paying contracts of Philip Rivers, Sam Bradford, Peyton and Eli Manning and Jay Cutler.  Eli Manning is the only quarterback of those five who make more than Roethlisberger and own two Super Bowl rings.

“I’d retire before I accept a trade.” -Ben Roethlisberger

The NFL’s report top their top-paid players for 2014 has all quarterbacks in the top-five, led by Colin Kaepernick’s new contract that gives him $21 million this season, followed by Joe Flacco, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan.  Flacco, Brees and Manning each have won one Super Bowl, while Kaepernick has been to a Super Bowl.  Matt Ryan is the only quarterback of the five to not play in a Super Bowl yet.

With that, we go back to Roethlisberger’s case.

Two rings, over 30,000 yards passing, 200-plus touchdowns and a winning playoff record.

Rooney may have a plan in place for Big Ben, especially after signing center Maurkice Pouncey to a six-year, $48 million extension at the end of minicamp in June, and if the Steelers look to remain relevant in the AFC North, let alone the entire AFC, they’ll need to keep Roethlisberger for, at least, the next five years.

“I think Ben understands that’s our intention and the way we’d like to proceed,” Rooney stated.

If there’s a plan in place, then Big Ben will definitely be in for a big payday after this season and he can lead the Steelers to their seventh franchise Lombardi trophy (marking his third Super Bowl ring), then expect to see Roethlisberger’s name at the top of the highest-paid quarterbacks list in 2015.

For now, Pittsburgh better enjoy the incredible hometown discount they are getting.

Just imagine paying a quarterback over $20 million per year and they never won a Super Bowl, let alone reached it.  Yikes.

 

 

Tags: Ben Roethlisberger NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

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