Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers On Same Page About The Team’s Future

Late last week, just as the Pittsburgh Steelers were heading into training camp, the front office took the unusual, and perhaps slightly out of character, step of publicly addressing the topic of their franchise quarterback’s contract situation.

While Ben Roethlisberger contract runs through the 2015 season, the Steelers have traditionally attempted to work out an extension for their starter at the quarterback position two years in advance of the current deal expiring, which they elected not to do this season.

Near the middle of the 2013 campaign, the football equivalent of the paparazzi or TMZ began producing stories suggesting that Roethlisberger was unsatisfied with the progress of the organization, and even wanted to be traded, while the team was muddling through a disastrous slide that ultimately doomed their season.

While the Steelers were able to right the ship by season’s end, those same writers continued to promote the narrative of discord between the organization and their franchise quarterback, intimating that the lack of a new contract reached between the two sides was proof that there was a growing divide.

Perhaps it was in part because of these unsubstantiated rumors—frankly, I would lean against that being the case—but the Steelers and team president Art Rooney II elected to address the situation directly on the team’s website, stating outright that the front office would not be extending Roethlisberger’s contract this year, and explaining why.

According to the statement released, the Steelers elected to take the step of speaking to Roethlisberger about his contract situation in June, prior to the organization going forward and working on deals with other players, out of respect for the quarterback, and to take the time to explain how this was in the best interests of the team.

Not long after, the Steelers worked out a five-year extension with center Maurkice Pouncey, who is coming off an ACL injury. They are also expected to attempt to work out an extension with cornerback Cortez Allen, while a new deal with the transition-tagged outside linebacker Jason Worilds, is still a possibility.

Said Rooney:

Ben wants to be part of a winning team, to be in a position to compete for championships, and he understands that in order to do that we need to try to keep as many of the other players around as we can. So, addressing the players who are going into the final years of their contracts in 2014 makes sense. That’s what he and I talked about.

We also talked to Ryan [Tollner, Roethlisberger’s agent], just so that there was communication with him as well, so that they understood the direction in which we wanted to proceed. We wanted to make sure they were understanding that we do want to make a commitment, that we do want to address Ben’s contract next year. It’s not a situation where we’re saying we want to put it on hold. We did assure him that next year is the time frame in which we want to address it.

Whether or not this somewhat atypical move had anything to do with the media-driven melodrama over Roethlisberger’s status in Pittsburgh, it will hopefully begin to put that narrative to rest, at least until his next extension is set to expire.

It was made abundantly clear in the statement that the organization intended to show Roethlisberger the highest degree of respect in addressing his contract position beforehand and going through their offseason outlook with him.

It’s also clear that Roethlisberger’s stature within the organization has been on a steady upward trend for the last few years. He’s blossomed into the true leader and face of the franchise, and the team chose to reward that progress with this token of respect and public dialogue.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Paddy

    This song and dance with Ben and Rooney Is very strange. I don’t understand why they would wait. Ben could lower his cap figure from 18 million to 12 by doing something now. Two questions remain; what if Ben is hurt and what happens if he decides to look at other offers?

  • SteelersDepot

    He has a LONG wait until he can look at other offers. lol That’s not happening. They will extend him next offseason.

  • steelant

    I feel like the rooneys hope ben gets injured since he has only played a full season 2 times but still make the playoffs and try to use that against him when doing a new contract.

  • Michael Pearce

    There’s a lot of smoke here, and where there’s smoke, well…..Not sure why we would wait until next year to try and resign him. His price will go way up next year over this one and if he goes to free agency there is no chance to resign him. Ben had a great year last year and I’m expecting the same or better this year. With all the new QB contracts coming out over the next year, they all will affect Ben’s contract numbers as well. I am not so sure about a smooth negotiation next offseason. One thing is for sure: We will know pretty early next year if Ben will finish his career in the Black and Gold. Like Ben said, I pray he does….

  • Weiss Chad

    He is under contract for two more yrs.Its not like he can test the free agent market next year .

  • Pete Johnson

    If you can’t see the fire through the smoke take off the black and gold glasses. The Steelers want a discount (as usual) Ben said “I am already playing at a hometown discount”. Hello? How about we open our eyes and see what is going on here? You think Ben just happened to say that right as all this talk of the contract is going on? That was a clear “message” to whoever was listening, including the Steelers brass. He wants to be paid right along with what every other franchise QB is getting, Steelers are balking and here we are. Can’t say I blame him. The closer he gets to FA, the more his value increases. There will be another few mega QB contracts signed by inferior players at the position, the cap will go up, and his price will just go up.

    It makes no sense to string out contract talks when you are dealing with a known quantity like a franchise 2 time winning SB QB. You get the new deal done as fast as humanly possible, for all the reasons I just stated. Any rhetoric from the team is just that, making excuses as to why he isn’t signed forever and covering up what is really going on. Talks have stalled as they have a “difference of opinion” as to what Ben should be paid, it is that simple. I just hope the team comes to their senses and soon.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    I have no doubt Ben will be extended. When that happens? Anyone’s guess. Two things are for certain if this organization does not keep Ben beyond his current contract: 1) A better QB was acquired through FA or drafted. 2) The running game is SO dominant any bum at QB will do thus still winning the division.

  • Donte Williams

    ya’ll some funny cats and if you think for none moment that the Rooney’s and this organization is going to let Big Ben go your nuts. he is under contract for the next two seasons so what they didnt work our his contract this year like they have in the past with other QBs working their contracts out with 2yrs left. the brass this year has done things that Steelers nation is unucustom to and that was signing all these f/a’s going speed in the draft and revamping this offense and defnese. we have more than just Big Ben to worry about his contract is up in 2 yrs you got guys like pouncey allen worlids who’s contracts were coming or is up after this season why not take care of them now rather than later ala Lewis, Sanders, Wallace, if we can lock up Allen and possibly Worilds this year then Big Ben will be done next year and that will be less stress to worry about. stop stressing the brass knows what they are doing and obviously they wont the money in the bank to offer big ben 120-140million

  • Brendon Glad

    That’s going to be a tough one to twist into “Steeler-Ben-drama”, but the national media will find a way to do it. On some slow Tuesday or Wednesday. That’s why i’m very glad the Steelers addressed it. Now they will look stupid when they do that.