The Steelers franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has two years remaining on an 8 year $102 million dollar deal he signed back in March 2008. His cap hit for the next two seasons is currently projected to be over $18 milliona year for the next two seaosns.
Typically, the Steelers have made a move to extend their quarterback when he has two years remaining on his deal, and for a couple of reasons a contract extension this off-season made perfect season.
First of all,Both GM Kevin Colbert and team President Art Rooney II have stated repeatedly since the end of the season that they want Roethlisberger to reitre a Steeler. Securing a contract extension this off-season essentially ensures that Roethlisberger will spend the rest of his playing days in the Black and Gold. The sooner he signs on the dotted line, the less chance of something disastrous happening in negotiations, or any millions of other doomsday scenarios.
Second, Roethlisberger's cap hit is prohibitively large for a team trying to maneouvre its way back into play-off contention on the fly. An extension could help reduce, perhaps drastically, his cap hit for 2014, thus freeing up some much needed funds for Colbert and co. to pursue those remaining free agents they have their eye on.
Howeever, all that being said, the Steelers have been perfectly content to stand still with regards to Roethlisberger's contract. For most of the off-season they have played down any talks of an extension, and repeatedly stressed that although in years previous they have struck a deal with two years remaining, and all parties involved want to reach a deal, there is no reason to expect an extension in 2014.
Speaking earlier today, Colbert mostly reiterated what he has previously said.
"We'll get through free agency,get through the draft and then we'll see where we are. Traditionally we have done our quarterbacks(contracts) two years out, but as Art(Rooney) said we may or may not be in a position to do something this summer"
This was basically more of the same thing from Colbert, talking down the expectations of an extension getting done, at least any time soon. It seems that if a new contract were to be agreed, it will not be untill late summer or the beginning of training camp.
Colbert did add something new to digest however. Speaking about the potential financial parameters of a new deal, he had this to say.
"What happens in the market, you're aware of what's going on but it doesn't set the parameters. I believe that the parameters that are set are set by the team and the player, what we would be willing to do and what the player is willing to accept.
Sure, they know what so and so makes, but its finding common ground between two parties is what we're concerend about, not so much being in compliance with the rest of the league"
I'm not so certain Roethlisberger's agent would agree with that stance. With Joe Flacco,Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan now earning upwards of $20 million a year on their new contracts, expect that to be the starting point for any negotiation talks. The team would have a hard time convincing Roethlisberger to accept anything less, considering what he has acheived in his career. The recent contracts for other franchise quarterbacks should have a large say in setting the parameters for any discussion.