Hines Ward: “I Can’t Foresee Ben Putting On Another Uniform”

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was a guest Wednesday morning on the NFL Network morning show and you can bet he was asked about the Sunday report from Ian Rapoport that suggested quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would likely ask the team to explore trading him this coming offseason

“No,” said Ward when asked if he could imagine his former teammate ever playing in a different uniform. “Big Ben playing in a different uniform, it’s just crazy to even think that. So you hear some of the reports of him wanting to get out of Pittsburgh, but that’s just the media. You never know where these stories come up and its unfortunate that he has to answer those questions, but I can’t foresee Ben putting on another uniform.”

Ward is right when he says it’s unfortunate that Roethlisberger has to answer questions about a story that has been tabbed as being “erroneous” not only by the quarterback, but his agent and the Steelers. We’re still talking about, however, and likely will be for the rest of the season.

As far as a possible contract extension goes for Roethlisberger this upcoming season, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Wednesday during his online chat that he would be a little surprised if one gets done before the start of next year because of the Steelers cap situation. In other words, just because Roethlisberger’s past extensions have happened in the next to last year of his previous contracts, doesn’t necessarily guarantee that will be the case this time around.

Roethlisberger is under contract through the 2015 season, so if the two sides can’t come to an agreement prior to the start of the new league calendar year, the Steelers will ┬ájust have to find a way to work around his $18.895 million cap charge of which $6.795 million is previous prorated bonus money. In fact, depending on what Roethlisberger will likely want in the form of a signing bonus this time around, the Steelers really don’t stand to save that much cap space in 2014 by extending him this upcoming offseason.

To illustrate this, the minimum that Roethlisberger would count against the salary cap in 2014 if no signing bonus were to be given would be roughly $8 million. On top of that would be the prorated portion of whatever new bonus he would get as part of the extension. Let’s say that he were to receive a three year extension and a $30 million signing bonus, for example. His new 2014 cap hit would be roughly $14 million. In other words, a savings of $4.895 million from what it was originally scheduled to be. Keep in mind that $30 million signing bonus is only a fictitious number used for this example as Roethlisberger’s current contract already has base salaries in 2014 and 2015 totaling $24 million and I’m not going to get into the new money over old money concept in this post.

Whether or not a Roethlisberger extension gets done this coming offseason as opposed to the following one will of course depend on how much he is looking for in the way of guaranteed money. Still, despite what I have laid out above, I still think the that the two sides will work something out prior to the start of the 2014 season. Whatever the outcome, it won’t include trading him.

  • cencalsteeler

    I agree with you, Dave, and Hines. I think all Steeler fans would like to see Ben go out the way Hines did, with the utmost class and finish his career and retire a Steeler. But, stranger things have happened. Joe Montana, aka Mr. San Francisco, left for KC. Out here in Ca., you thought the world was going to end. Remember, these guys have loyalty to their teams, but have a bigger loyalty to their immediate families. It would be nice if the Rooney’s and Ben could make it work so we can all watch Ben ride into the sunset wearing the black and gold.

  • Lamarr56

    I just wish Hines didn’t have to get cut before he retired, I guess it’s a business though.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Not that I think it will happen, but Montana left SF, Manning left the Colts, and Favre left the Packers even playing for their rivals the Vikings. I don’t think it is impossible, but if they can’t work out an extension, I could see him moved.

  • Eric

    In all 2 of these cases, the team had a capable younger QB (Young and Rogers) and Manning left after a major surgery and a full season of inactivity. Not the case here in the Burgh.

  • 2443scott

    when ever the new contract hits this season will surely hurt ben in asking for money as well as last season the guys set for life as it is so i dont see him turning down any offer from steelers thats reasonable.

  • In each scenario you mentioned the successor was in house or the team had the #1 pick. We have none

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    He is due to make ~$23M over the next 2 years. That is a great number for the Steelers. I would let him play that out and negotiate the next contract when he is 35 and his value is lower. If necessary, you could franchise him to protect yourself during those negotiations.

    If he was willing to do something team friendly before his contract played out, I’d probably do it, but I wouldn’t make it a priority. As stated above, that pro-ration amount really makes it hard to save much cap space and any savings would ultimately just kick the cap problems further down the road.

  • SwagDaddy330

    If these guys don’t get him some help up front, Ben might be paralyzed by 2015… this might be a non-issue.

  • Chris Ranieri

    Hines Ward…DGD!

  • Mike Carroll

    I’ve been saying the same thing for a few weeks now. It makes no sense to extend Ben this offseason on the heels of what looks like a 6-10 type of year. Why commit more money on a franchise QB if your team is losing and you’re already over the salary cap for next year? Much, much better to eat the large cap hit on his contract while you work to rebuild the team. Then the front office is able to see how both Ben and the team do in the next year or two. Maybe you look to extend him before the 2015 season, but to do it next year would be a big mistake.

  • Luke Shabro

    Luckily (or not so luckily) I don’t see Landry Jones as a Steve Young replica breathing down Big Ben’s neck. He’s all we got right now! People can talk all they want about trading Ben and drafting a rookie superstar but there’s no such thing as a can’t miss prospect. If there was his name was Luck and there probably won’t be another one of him for 20 more years. You don’t just let a borderline Hall of Famer walk away and hope for the best. I certainly hope I get to see Ben retire as a Steeler. I’m afraid my son’s formative years as a Steelers fan will be chock full of Neil O’Donnells, Bubby Brister’s and Mark Malone’s. Although I became a big Steelers fan when Slash was behind center so you never know

  • Luke Shabro

    Didn’t you see Landry Jones? Spread offense coming. Sooners resurgence! lol

  • RedCarpetDefense

    A HUGE reason why I wanted them to win the Super Bowl against the Pack. We would’ve got to see a lot of Steelers go out as champs Hines possibly being one of them. …oh well I digress

  • Riverstko

    Tell em Hines Well said.