Ben Roethlisberger is screwing these Steelers out of immediate contract extensions

Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Ben Roethlisberger’s contract makes him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. By earning such a wage, he’s holding the Steelers back in the long-term.

Big Ben is beloved in the Steel City, winning two Super Bowls and cementing his status as a future Hall of Famer and best quarterback in franchise history. In his age 38 and 39 seasons, he’s being paid like the pound-for-pound best signal-caller in football, despite not receiving the playing time (thanks to injury) or putting up the numbers necessary for a player of his pay-grade.

The Steelers aren’t the victim here — not just because they handed out the contact to begin with, but because their young core has them in position to compete even after Roethlisberger leaves Western Pennsylvania.

However, the Findlay, Ohio, native’s monstrosity of a deal could impact just how successful Mike Tomlin’s team can be in the interim and future, thanks to a laundry list of contributors waiting for their turn to deposit a girthy extension while Roethlisberger continues to take up the majority of the Steelers cap space.

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TJ Watt has quickly established himself as a perennial defensive player of the year candidate. Like his brother JJ, Watt provides pressure on opposing quarterbacks off the edge at a more-than-respectable clip, and has been honored with two Pro Bowl appearances in his three NFL seasons, including an All-Pro selection in 2019. With two years left on his rookie deal, the time is now to extend Watt before his price skyrockets heading into a contract season. The longer Pittsburgh waits, the more they’ll have to pay to keep his services on the North Shore.

Unfortunately for GM Kevin Colbert, Roethlisberger’s deal (albeit restructured recently) puts them in a cap hold, with a clear lack of flexibility to make any extension with Watt — which would assuredly be lucrative for the Wisconsin product — until at least after this season. To make matters worse, Big Ben has a cap hit of over $41 million next year, per Spotrac.