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Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Now The 15th Highest-Paid Player In The NFL


Despite only winning one playoff game in five attempts, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan received a five-year, $103.75 million contract extension on Thursday that makes him the second-highest paid player in the league.

Ryan, who is heading into his sixth season in the league, has $59 million of his new deal guaranteed, and he will earn $63 million in the first three years, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

That extension now means Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has a 10-4 playoff record to go along with two Super Bowl championships, is the 15th highest-paid player in the league when looking at the average yearly pay received by all players.

Since the end of last season, Ryan now joins Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo as the quarterbacks who have received new deals. Next offseason, Roethlisberger, and perhaps even Eli Manning, will both have their armored cars ready for big time deals.

Should Roethlisberger lead the Steelers to another Super Bowl in 2013, you wouldn\'t be able to fault him for asking for the sky, as he would more than deserve it. So how much would it cost the Steelers?

Being that Rodgers leads the way with an average yearly value of $22 million, that would be a good place to start. Would $23 million average per year work for Roethlisberger? Possibly. What about guaranteed money, as that is really the biggest factor in all of these deals, because of the salary cap ramifications?

In the latest extension signed by Brady, he upped his guaranteed money to $60 million. Behind him now sits Ryan with $59 million, and he is followed by Romo, who received $55 million in guarantees just a few weeks ago.

Should Roethlisberger\'s extension be for five years, you would think that it would be structured about the same way that Rodgers\' new deal was. He received a $35 million signing bonus and $54 million guaranteed in his recent five-year extension, so Roethlisberger would likely get around $38 million as a signing bonus with around $60 million guaranteed in the first three years with the total value of the deal coming in at around $115 million.

Roethlisberger is already scheduled to count $18.895 million against the cap in 2014, with $6.795 million of that locked in as previous bonus proration. If the Steelers don\'t feel the need to lower his 2014 and 2015 scheduled cap numbers that much, they could give him a $4.5 million base salary next season and another $5.5 million guaranteed base salary in 2015, and that would not only guarantee him $48 million in the first two years, but keep his previously scheduled cap numbers roughly the same in the process. In 2016, Roethlisberger would get the remaining $12 million guaranteed in a combined base salary plus roster bonus. At that point, all the guaranteed money would be paid and only two years of $7.6 million proration would remain on the books. The hope of course would be that Roethlisberger plays for four more seasons. Should he need to be released after the 2016 season, however, the dead money in 2017 would be $7.6 million if he was to be released after June 1st with the remaining $7.6 million being charged off as dead money in 2018. Those are bad cap hits, but they shouldn\'t be crippling with the salary cap expected to jump by then.

Should Roethlisberger get injured again in 2013 and not play in at least 14 games, the Steelers will really have a big decision to make. Roethlisberger\'s price might not be as high as Rodgers, but even a $100 million, five-year extension would come with huge risk based not only on his age, but his pattern of being injured as well.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • hergieburbur

    Can’t stand the QB pay escalations. There is going to be a very painful adjustment to that for many teams int he near future if the cap doesn’t jump up. Too much money tied up in one position.

  • NW86

    It’s early to even be talking about this, but I’ll bite. If it takes that much to get Ben extended next spring, I’ll go on record now saying they should NOT extend him. Sure they should talk with him, but if Ben’s agent holds firm on those kind of numbers, they shouldn’t be pressured into doing anything – they’ll still have him for 2 more years at a price they can swallow.

    In order to make those numbers work and give him the $23M/year average you mentioned, his 2017-2019 cap hits would have to skyrocket to well over $25M/year, which would really blow up the cap. That’s what the Saints, Ravens, and Cowboys have all done, and they’ll all be screwed soon. For example, Drew Brees’ cap hit goes to $26.4M in 2015. Not only is that not feasible, but there will also be nearly $15M in dead money so they won’t have much leverage to try to force him into a pay cut because Brees will know that they don’t really want to release him and eat the dead money hit.

  • SteelersDepot

    Don’t think you understand the basis of the structure & you must not have seen Rodgers contract. Year three INCLUDES the $12 million guaranteed and like Rodgers contract, another $5 million scattered through the years as workout/roster bonuses.

  • SteelersDepot

    Also, seems as though you are forgetting that this is a
    five-year extension, which means the deal runs through 2020

  • Got 6 we do

    Pay the man

  • Shea Fahr

    Exactly. QB’s should be on their own separate salary cap.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    While the Rodgers’ extension money is $22m/yr, he was making far less than Roethlisberger off the back end of his current contract making his annual average from the time he signed the extension through its completion only $18.5.

    I think due to Roethlisberger’s age, he won’t get that kind ($23M) of money. Also, I can’t see the Steelers doing an extension without trying to lower Roethlisberger’s 2014 cap hit.. I’d look for the average annual on the extension portion to ultimately be about $21m with a lot of guaranteed and up front money.

  • gene mann

    If they want to Extend Ben they will their no doubt in my mind.

  • Brendon Glad

    I have no idea what owners are doing when they go insane on QB’s who either haven’t proven themselves…or HAVE proven themselves to be poor playoff performers. They must be heavily involved in fantasy football. That’s all I can surmise.
    So yes, Ben will be deserving of a whopping extension. And it’s about the ONLY time where the media’s inaccurate evaluation of his ranking among QB’s is actually appreciated, instead of infuriating. That may save us in the end. Or at least save the Rooney’s 20-30 mil over the course of the deal.

  • Brendon Glad

    Well, actually I DO know why Jerry Jones goes insane on the Romo thing. Because I’m 1,000% convinced that he would get zero joy out of winning a Superbowl if Robert Kraft “gifted-him” Belichick and Brady in a trade for Garrett and Romo. Because then JERRY wouldn’t get enough credit.
    BY GOD he’s gonna SHOW ALL OF US IDIOTS isn’t he? He’s gonna win that daggone thing with Romo and Garrett if it kills him. It would be a Lmao moment…except now he’s messing with Ben’s contract by being stupid-stubborn like that. So it’s quite annoying, actually

  • Dan

    I agree we should not be considering this kind of money to extend him. He is already signed through 2015. Extending him for 2016+ when he’ll be 34, should not be a huge money deal. I’m not sure I remember when was the last time he was healthy for a whole season…2010? If he plays well and stays healthy for the next two years, then give him decent money, otherwise weigh the options in 2015. I don’t believe QBs should make more than the entire O-line put together. That all being said, I do consider Ben to be a top tier QB. I recently looked back at the stats of our previous QBs (and I was on the Maddox and Kordell bandwagons at times) and he is heads and shoulders above any QB we’ve had since Cliff Stoudt.

  • JC

    If Ben is going to count $18.65 million against the cap next year, wouldn’t it be smart for the Steelers to extend him? From previous articles, it appears we’ll need to create some cap space so I think they’ll have to extend his contract to help lower his cap hit next season.
    Or maybe Ben will give the Steelers a break …

  • NW86

    Yes I do understand, and I have seen Rodgers contract. As Jefferson said below, Rodgers’ contract worked because the Packers weren’t carrying a lot of dead money still on the existing contract. Unfortunately that’s not the case with the Steelers.

    You didn’t fully lay out the numbers that you would expect to see to get the average contract value to $23M, so using your beginning numbers, I’ll postulate some. Of course, these numbers you gave don’t lower the 2014 cap hit and they increase 2015 by $1.5M over what he’s currently scheduled to cost, which is unlikely because presumably the reason for the Steelers to extend him would be to lower his hit in the next 2 years. Obviously doing that would make the out years higher, but I’ll use your numbers the first 3 years anyway.

    For these purposes, I’m lumping any 1-year roster or workout bonuses (non-prorated) into salary because they would count against the cap the same. These numbers add a total of $115 Million (5 X $23M) to the contract. Not sure how the formatting will look but here goes:

    Year Salary BonusProration Cap Hit

    2014 $4,500 $14,395 $18,895
    2015 $5,500 $14,395 $19,895
    2016 $12,000 $7,600 $19,600
    2017 $18,000 $7,600 $25,600
    2018 $18,000 $7,600 $25,600
    2019 $21,350 0 $21,350
    2020 $21,350 0 $21,350

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