The Dallas Cowboys gave quarterback Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million contract extension on Friday that included $55 million in guarantees and a $25 million signing bonus, according to several media reports, and somewhere Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is celebrating the news.
So why exactly is Roethlisberger celebrating? For starters, Romo, in my opinion, is not half the quarterback that Roethlisberger is, and second, many believe that he will be in line for an extension next offseason.
To give you some comparison, Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million contract back in 2008 that reportedly included $33.2 million in guaranteed money.
So why will Roethlisberger be due an extension next offseason if he is under contract through the 2015 season? For starters, Roethlisberger\’s cap number in 2014 is scheduled to be almost $19 million. Could they restructure him once again? Sure, they could, but to save a mere $5.5 million in cap space in 2014; they would wind up pushing his 2015 cap number up to almost $24 million by doing so. That would mean that Roethlisberger, much like Romo this offseason, would have a ton of leverage to use in contract negotiations, as his side would know that the Steelers simply can\’t have him carrying that big of a cap hit in 2015.
An extension next offseason would ensure that Roethlisberger ends his career in Pittsburgh, and at the same time it would lower his 2014 cap charge in the process.
So what kind of money can Roethlisberger expect to get come next offseason, if indeed an extension is done? Despite not yet knowing the real structure of the new deal that Romo signed, you would have to think that his average yearly value, which is dangerous to use, by the way, would be the rock bottom starting point. We are also waiting to see what the new deal for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will look like as well, but you would have to figure that it will trump the six-year, $120.6 million contract that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco signed several weeks ago. In short, it will likely be somewhere around what those two received.
Now here is some good news. Roethlisberger has one hell of a carrot hanging in front of him heading into the 2013 season. The better he plays, and the deeper the Steelers go in the playoffs, the higher the price tag goes. An average, or below average year, will likely wind up with him getting an extension closer to what Romo received. It doesn\’t matter that he has already taken the team to three Super Bowls and won two of them. That\’s in the past.
Romo will turn 33 years of age in April, while Roethlisberger celebrated his 31st birthday in March. A five-year, $110 million extension next offseason for Roethlisberger is not out of the question right now, with the amount of guaranteed money coming in somewhere around $50 million or more.