Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch has now moved on with his life’s work and that includes him making various appearances on the major sports media networks as an NFL analyst. In addition, Batch is not afraid to express his opinions about the state of his former team on social media and on Thursday, he weighed in with his thoughts on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as it relates to a possible contract extension getting done.
Coach Tomlin, Extend Big Ben now & this assures us he’ll retire a @steelers like Troy. Plus it’ll give us #CapSpace.
Roethlisberger currently has two years remaining on his current contract and in the past, this is the time of year when the Steelers have done extensions with him. Batch is right when he says such an extension would potentially clear salary cap space for the Steelers, but does it really matter if that extension is done now as opposed to later this summer?
The always trolling Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk decided that Wednesday evening was the perfect time to stoke the flames of Steelers fans by attempting to pit Roethlisberger against the Steelers once again. He continues to insinuate that all of the media driven drama related to Roethlisberger this past season was induced by the Steelers themselves in an attempt to get their quarterback to profess his love for the city of Pittsburgh and the organization that drafted him.
“If no new contract is negotiated, the Steelers won’t have to worry about Roethlisberger clamoring for a raise, thanks to his strong reaction to rumors from last year that he wants out,” wrote Florio. “By already giving up his primary leverage, it’ll be hard for him to make a power play now.”
Despite Florio’s conspiracy theorist attitude, the Steelers have done right by Roethlisberger before and thus there’s no reason to believe they won’t do right by him again. As far as Roethlisberger trying to make a power play and him professing his want to retire a Steeler, and not end his career elsewhere, this is not new, as he did the same exact thing just a little over six years ago.
“I told them I didn’t want to go anywhere the day I walked in (as a rookie in 2004),” Roethlisberger said after signing an eight-year, $102 million extension in early March of 2008. “I love Pittsburgh, I love the fans. Got probably the best organization and fans in all of sport. I don’t want to go anywhere.”
As far as Roethlisberger wanting extraordinary money this time around, what his agent Ryan Tollner said following that 2008 extension speaks volumes.
“Ben never said, ‘I need a record-breaking contract.’ He never said, ‘I need the most money in the history of anything,”‘ Tollner said after the previous extensions was done. “He said, ‘I need a fair deal.’ ”
At some point, Roethlisberger will indeed get another fair deal and it doesn’t matter when that fair deal gets done. Team president Art Rooney II said earlier in the offseason that an extension might have to wait until next season and should that be the case, Roethlisberger should be fine with it. Odds are it won’t take that long, but you can’t blame Rooney for not wanting to paint himself into a corner. In addition, the Steelers probable wanted to wait and see where the 2014 official cap number came in at before really seriously talking about an extension with Roethlisberger.
With the salary cap expected to continue to rise by $7 million or more in 2015, it would probably be wise to get Roethlisberger’s extension done between now and the start of the 2014 regular season, because while it would not only potentially lower his cap hit this year, his second year cap charge should be very easily absorbed when you look at what will potentially be on the books in 2015. In addition, what’s considered a fair deal this year might not be considered one next year at this same time.
In closing, the two sides have done absolutely nothing wrong thus far and with all due respect to both Batch and Florio, it really doesn’t matter when an extension gets done. What matters the most is that both sides are happy when it finally does get done and rest assured that it will indeed get done at some point.