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Addressing The Mike Florio Fear Mongering Regarding A New Contract For Ben Roethlisberger

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk evidently just found the contract of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and as a result, he thought it would be fun to do a little fear mongering now that Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network hasn’t done any in the last couple of days.

Florio is just now realizing that the Steelers have restructured Roethlisberger’s contract three times over the years and as a result, his cap number in 2014 is $18.895 million. Someone should tell him that Abraham Lincoln has been shot and that we have landed on the moon.

Florio, however, is telling the truth when he says the Steelers already have $132 million in cap commitments for 2014, despite having only 40 players under contract. He uses this as a reason why Roethlisberger will need to take less this coming offseason if he signs an extension, but that isn’t necessarily true.

For starters, tackle Levi Brown will not be on the roster come the start of the new league year, so that alone will save the Steelers $6.25 million in cap space. In addition, I fully expect the Steelers will restructure the contract of wide receiver Antonio Brown once again. By turning $5 million of his $6 million base salary into a signing bonus, that will clear another $3.75 million in cap space. Those two moves alone will clear $10 million in cap space and we haven’t even scratched the surface.

Moving on, raise your hand if you think cornerback Ike Taylor will be allowed to earn a $7 million base salary next season. Should he not take a $3 million cut in pay, the Steelers will save the full $7 million by releasing him. You know he wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh, so something will be worked out.

Safety Troy Polamalu, as I have pointed out several times over the course of the last year, will be the huge elephant in the room after the season ends. He is scheduled to earn a base salary next season of $8.25 million and the Steelers will almost certainly go to him and see about reducing that by at least two million. If push comes to shove and they are forced to release him, they will save the full $8.25 million.

Digging deeper, there is just over $2.5 million in cap space to be saved by releasing linebacker Larry Foote and guard Ramon Foster if it comes to that.

While it won’t clear a ton of cap space, I fully expect that tight end Heath Miller will be given a modest extension. Even if that doesn’t come to fruition, they can still work around his $9.47 cap number.

So back to Roethlisberger. A new extension that averages around $21.5 million can certainly be worked out depending on how it is structured and for how long. The guaranteed amounts will be the real meat of the contract negotiations and that’s not breaking news. Even if they were to give him a $35 million signing bonus as part of a new three year extension, his new cap number in 2014 would be roughly $14.8 million and that would be around $4 million less than he was originally scheduled to count against the cap. Guarantee him a second year base salary of $5 million and that results in a 2015 cap number of $18.795 which is only slightly higher than what it is scheduled to be right now. That alone would give Roethlisberger $41 million in guaranteed money over the first two years with three years left to fill in the blanks as it relates to base salaries, roster bonuses and workout bonuses.

Now, will it work out exactly like that number wise? Probably not, but there is some flexibility in there. For Florio to say that Roethlisberger has to give a huge discount, or else, is totally off the mark and irresponsible on his part. As many contracts as Florio has seen over the years and as knowledgeable as he is when it comes the salary cap, you would think that he would know this.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    This and Rappaports is why I only listen to Steelers writers! Outsiders don’t know squat and every time they open their mouths it shows.


    Intentional prevarication is worse than ignorance.

  • 2443scott

    you never see brady or manning or rodgers redoing there contracts like ben does ..that tells me ben likes where he is and does what he can for the team and owners ….i have a feeling unless ike and troy take huge pay cuts they wont be back because i think steelers are going to start cleaning up the cap mess because you got bell and jones and a brown wheaton and both centers and decastro and lbers to name a few to pay down the road i fear the beard might be gone to i hope not for another year ….so cap space is going to be needed in few years and by then some one will replace ben .

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    Its quotes like this that make me love this site:

    “Florio is just now realizing that the Steelers have restructured Roethlisberger’s contract three times over the years and as a result, his cap number in 2014 is $18.895 million. Someone should tell him that Abraham Lincoln has been shot and that we have landed on the moon.”

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    Actually (never trust anyone who starts a sentence off with actually) Brady just this last off season restructured his contract in a way that was supposed to leave extra money for players like Wess Welker. I actually wouldn’t be shocked if Ben does not go for a deal like this himself. It will protect his future with guaranteed money and give the Steelers some much needed cap room for younger players. At this point in his career I honestly think Ben is worried more about adding to his championships and passing Brady than he is in some super extreme payday.

  • HarryBackside

    Ben hasn’t redone anything. The team converted his salary into a bonus, so they didn’t have to count his entire salary against the cap that year. Ben actually benefited, because he received almost his entire salary for the year in one check, before the regular season ever started.

  • HarryBackside

    Brady also got a raise. Before the extension, he was going to make about $18M over the next two years. His extension included a $30M signing bonus, which means he’ll be earning $33M over the next two years.

  • SG

    If Ben keeps having 4 TD 0 INT days, I say let them talk about him all they want.

  • LucasY59

    Ben gets the same $ as his original contract from restructuring, it just gives him more guaranteed $ sooner in a singing bonus (which lowers his cap hit for the current year and makes it worse the following years, which is why he is due almost 19 mil 2014) If he wanted to give the Steelers a break he would need to sign an extension (or take an actual salary cut)
    Unless he single handedly takes the team into the playoffs. he should think seriously about signing a cap friendly extension. the Team has been mortgaging the future to stay under the cap since he signed his last BIG contract and the team has gotten older and been unable to get/keep talent on the roster. The players that left over the last few years have not ruined the team, but this years record shows that it is hard to compete when there is more work being done in the front office to get the team under the cap and keeping players from previous superbowls than there is working on getting and keeping the players that will help win the next superbowl.

  • Markzila

    rapoport is ALWAYS wrong when it comes to the Steelers. And Florio is just baiting people. It’s all he does on his site. He tries to get clicks, that’s it. He’s a professional internet troll.

  • HarryBackside

    Spot on Dave! The Steelers will probably do something very similar to the extension Brady just signed. Brady had two more years left on his contract, and would have made around $18M during that time. His extension included a $30M signing bonus, but a salary of only $1M this year, and $2M next year. Basically, Brady got a raise, and the Patriots made room under the cap.

    The total value of Brady’s deal isn’t much ($14M/year average), and his salary jumps to $7M in 2015. But, let’s not kid ourselves. Tom Brady isn’t going to play for that amount of money. After the 2014 season, Brady and the Patriots will sit down again, and get him more money. The Steelers could do the same thing with Ben, and after 2015, when the team is finally clear of their huge contracts, they can sit down with Ben and work out another extension.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Among the reasons why the Steelers have cap problems is because they have done too many big extensions to guys under contract. I just see no reason to extend Roethlisberger after this year. A team trying to get out of cap problems can’t fix their cap by paying more to a player making a team friendly salary, regardless of how it is structured. If the Steelers wait until after next season, they will have all the same leverage in contract negotiations as they do this year and maybe more since Roethlisberger will be a year older.

  • Nolrog

    >>> you never see brady or manning or rodgers redoing there contracts like ben does ..that tells me ben likes where he is and does what he can for the team and owners ….I don’t think you understand what happens when they restructure the contracts. And actually, Brady took less money in NE so they would have money to spend elsewhere.

  • Nolrog

    It’s partially the big contracts, but also the restructures of those deals to keep the guys around, instead of biting the bullet and letting them go so they’d have money to bring in a decent FA.

  • Bell Cow

    I think they’re going to release Troy and save the full $8.25 million. Depending upon what they do in the draft, Ike might get released also.

  • steeltown

    Love it Bryan… it amazes me the ignorance of the self appointed “experts”

    Regarding your article, I agree with pretty much all that you mentioned, I am mostly alone in thinking that Foote WILL be back next year, because as you mentioned the savings to release him is minimal not to mention he would provide solid depth in the middle should Vince Williams beat him out in training camp. A.Brown restructured, Miller and Ben extended, a paycut or two and release of Levi Brown will sure up any cap issues for 2014

  • steeltown

    After 2014 the cap issues will be less severe, Ike Taylor and Polamalu and their big contracts will be off the books, not to mention Keisel and Clark. Obviously we’ll still have Ben, Woodley, Brown and Timmons large contracts but that’s manageable. The good thing is players soon to be signed long term like C.Allen and possibly Worilds and Hood wont command huge contracts. The only player on roster that would demand a large deal in the next couple yrs IMO is Pouncey

  • steeltown

    I think we’ll need them both, we have no depth whatsoever in the secondary, even if they draft CB and Safety (which they will) they still need both Ike and Troy next year. Clark will be gone so there’s no one behind Troy except Shamarko and no one behind Ike except Cortez Allen and WillieG

  • Eric

    Salaries not mentioned are Worlids, Kiesel, Hood, Pouncey, Cotchery. These alone, plus others, could eat up a lot of the proposed cap reduction.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Mike Wallace left with his high price tag and his attitude, and one year starter Keenan Lewis went home. And the Steelers will probably get a third and a fourth out of the deal. That’s it. They have kept everyone they wanted, and a few they shouldn’t have.

    I agree Ben makes too much to allow the Steelers to bring in anyone, but the issue is they haven’t developed a safety since Polamula, a linebacker since Woodley/Timmons, a TE since Miller, a RB since Parker, a LT since never, or even a backup QB.

  • steeltown

    You’re saying all mentioned will be back next season?

    I see Pouncey returning of course, he’s still under contract next season.. and I think (hope) Worilds and Cotchery will be re-signed but they won break the bank, Hood wont demand a large contract and if Keisel returns it will be at a reduced rate (1yr vet minimum)

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I’d say make them talk about him!

  • Steeler Wheeler

    There’s a balance of loyalty and smarts in these contracts. For example, Steelers had some money, had taken 4 years of excellent play from Woodley for nothing, and gave him a player friendly deal..Smart? Probably not. Did Woodley deserve some back pay? Most definitely. Did the Steelers have to pay it? Definitely not. But they did. When Ike and Troy take cuts next year, Woodley restructures and ultimately signs a team friendly deal that is the reason. From a purely numbers point of view, you cut Troy and Ike, overpay some of the younger guys now so they are cap friendly in a few years, bring in some free agents, and try to create another two or three year super bowl window. Not the Steeler way. As much as I bitch and moan about not keeping these aging, long-in-the-tooth, skills dwindling vets like Clark, Foote, Farrior around past their prime, I’m extremely happy with the Rooney’s decisions over the last 40 years, and I’m going to have to admit that they are probably right more times then me. GO STEELERS!

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Both players will take team friendly cuts, and one of them will be gone in 2015 :(

  • steeltown

    I think both will be gone in 2015.. unless Polamalu stays healthy through this season and next, then maybe he gets a 1yr extension. That’s something no one really talks about is extending Troy, he’s only 32yrs old and will 33yrs by the end of 2014. If he stays healthy ALL season this year they could reduce his cap hit next year in part by a bonus and adding a year onto his deal. Of course, some people will completely disagree with that.

  • Mike Carroll

    Well stated. I think it’s a no-brainer to do absolutely nothing with Ben’s contract this offseason.

  • HarryBackside

    The cap savings from releasing Foote could be enough to cover most of the cost to retain Cotch, Worilds, Hood, or Velasco. I think it’s much more likely that Foote is done.

  • dennisdoubleday

    That doesn’t sound right to me. What I read was that the $30M signing bonus was composed of $27M that was due him under his old contract (but not guaranteed) plus $3M new money. The total contract is $57M over 5 years. That is a huge bargain for Brady; way less than Flacco took. (But the whole $57M is guaranteed against injury, so the Patriots are gambling that he won’t get hurt, which is a pretty big gamble for a guy who is 35 now.)

    If we get that deal for Ben, I’ll be very happy. I hope the people who think he isn’t all about the money are right.

  • dennisdoubleday

    Keisel could very well sign a 1-year deal, but I doubt very much that it would be for the vet minimum.

  • HarryBackside

    It’s definitely going to be a situation where the Steelers aren’t going to bring back everyone they would like to bring back. There’s some tough decisions to be made, not only on who to keep, but who to cut. I think the conversation needs to start by identifying the players who will most likely be a priority for for the FO, and who would be a luxury. I don’t see the FO keeping both Hood and Keisel (even though I’m sure they would like to). I think they make Hood an offer first, with Keisel as plan B if Hood wants more than what the team is willing to give. I see the order or priority being Hood, Worilds, Velasco, Cotchery. If Hood doesn’t sign, then Keisel jumps ahead of Worilds.

  • Chad H

    I believe the Steelers will look at the top 6 to 8 players to rework/extend those contracts. I believe they already have most of the numbers figured out. I think they may target somewhere between 15 to 20 million. Then look at contracts for Pouncey, Heyward and C. Allen.

  • steeltown

    I could see maybe a flat $1MIL or maybe $1.5MIL… relatively close to the vet minimum

  • Mike Carroll

    Here’s what I see as big decision for the Front Office this offseason regarding the salary cap moving forward:

    A) Continue along the same path as the last several years, borrowing cap space from future years as a primary means to finance the current team. Do an extension with Ben that postpones his cap hit. Restructure several others. Make one “big cut”. Plan to gut the whole team (and really free up their payroll) when they part ways with Ben somewhere down the road.

    B) Opt for a mini-rebuild now while Ben still has several more years of quality play left in him. Work to restore real cap space for a second run with Ben. The old SB winning teams are long gone and a new core is needed. Cut several vets that won’t be productive in 2 years time. Don’t extend Ben. Eat his cap hit for this season and increase their leverage for negotiations in 2014/15. Revisit, the whole team situation and Ben’s contract at that point in time.

    In the end, I think plan B is more representative of the steady, even-keeled approach the Steelers usually take. I hope Rooney agrees.

  • steeltown

    Not when you consider our interior depth right now consist of Sylvestor and Kion Wilson, two players that have been waived more than once.
    The savings is not significant enough, they can get the money numerous others ways IMO

  • bgsteelfan

    Florio is an idiot that just spouts BS for ratings and attention. There, I said it.

  • HarryBackside

    Wilson and Sly are better backups that what the team has under contract at OLB, DE, WR, and OL next year, because their is no players who provide depth at those positions under contract for next year. in the case of DE, there isn’t even another starting DE available. ILB is the least of the teams concerns

  • Chad H

    They also could look at moving him to FS with Shark at SS then next 2 to 3 years.

  • steeltown

    Ok maybe you’re right about lack of depth at some other positions, but you realize the money saved from releasing Foote (maybe 1MIL or 1.5MIL) would then have to be used to re-sign Sly and Wilson who are not under contract in ’14

  • george

    This is why Steelers Depot is my FIRST source for info on the team!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    My idea is definitely the best. Here’s what I proposed last spring:

    The high paid vets get together for dinner and create a plan whereby they collectively decide they want to win another Super Bowl. The best bet to do so is to walk into the Front Office and all take small pay cuts. Yes, pay CUTS. Save $1 million here, $2 million there and suddenly they have an extra $10 million or more. This will be used to shore up the roster, signing vets, perhaps 2nd or 3rd tier Free Agents. Most will be capable backups, and hopefully a few starters.

    The result:
    1) There will be no cap issues for a couple of years.
    2) These players will be seen as great leaders by all, especially the younger players on the team.
    3) The Steelers would have a real shot at winning another Lombardi over the next couple of years.
    4) They would still be muilti-millionaires and set for life.

    Anybody not on board? Then what are your chances of winning a Super Bowl before you retire? Not bloody likely!

    As a Pittsburgh Steeler it is your duty to think like a champion! That’s how the Steelers won all those trophies. These guys already have made some great money and now it’s time to win more championships.

    There you have it. That’s my grand plan.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I’d choose option B and also hope that a few of the vets would take salary cuts during the mini-rebuild to keep the team competitive. Given that Plan A is exactly what they’ve done the last 2 years with diminishing returns, I hope the lesson has been learned. While to me the choice seems obvious, I have no feel for what they will choose.

    To me, the elephant in the room is the lack of talent. Yes, the cap has to brought in line to give the team the ability to develop and retain young players, but aside from Heyward and maybe Pouncey and Sanders, not many of the 3rd and 4th year players get me too excited.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    We can not expect schmucks like florio and rappaportless to take the time as you did to think something through, they are not into the reporting bible of , who, what, when, where, why and how. There creed is more about sensationalism.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    I think we have a number of contracts that can be re addressed or terminated if need be to not only adjust the cap numbers but possibly be able to sign a player or two from free agency as well as our own we want to keep.

  • Bell Cow

    If we keep both someone like Hood or Worilds will have to go then. I understand the depth issue in the secondary, but all the old money is on defense and as a unit they aren’t really performing very well.

  • steeltown

    I’d let Hood go before I cut Ike or Polamalu.. atleast at DE we have Heyward and then of course McLendon and Al Woods can also play DE maybe the young Arnfelt and N.Williams and/or bring Keisel back on a 1yr modest deal. No such flexibility in the secondary

  • Mike Carroll

    I could see the paycuts happening. I’d offer Troy and Ike 50% paycuts or release them. I think Ike would take it without much of a peep, but Troy may balk.

    I agree the talent doesn’t look great at the moment, but I would say they have a fair number of decent younger players that are worth locking up at reasonable type deals $2-4M per year. The team got in serious trouble when they put way too much money into too few players the last few years. They need to rebuild with more of a team mentality, like the good old days.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Here’s the $19M question… Can we afford to have that money into Ben if the FO is missing more on depth and key positions at nose,d’end, left tackle, etc. When we don’t have an answer for losing Debo or Keenan Lewis- don’t have an answer for losing Hampton or don’t have a viable- left tackle, is it okay to have a $19M quarterback? Colbert will hit better than most, but it’s an inexact science. In August, when you get a sense of your team, that’s when the free Cap $$$ can be available to sign or trade for a veteran (see Velasco) backup at linebacker or cornerback- not rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic. So we signed Velasco and I believed moved Heath’s salary back. Great… When do we pay the piper on that? I’d rather struggle through a year or two of 6-10, knowing we are retooling to make another run. Not delaying the inevitable and continuing in mediocrity.

  • HarryBackside

    Sly and Wilson are basically minimum salary guys, right? The team has to have 51 players on the roster. The cost to keep either one of those players would come at the expense of another minimum salary guy, who’s only role is to play special teams.

  • steeltown

    Technically you may be right, but in the end, I do not want Sly on this Team any longer, same goes for C.Brown guys who can barely get on the practice field let alone be allowed to play Defense on Sundays

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