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Ben Roethlisberger contract extension not imminent, but no reason for Steelers fans to worry

The hope was the Steelers would get a new contract done with their franchise QB sooner than later...turns out it might be later.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were a team with just a small amount of salary cap space available to them when free agency kicked off on March 13th. It didn’t stop the organization from making moves, but fans everywhere knew there were ways to create more cap space.

Trading Marcus Gilbert gave them some room, but the biggest move to be made would be giving Ben Roethlisberger a contract extension which would decrease his $23,300,000 salary cap hit for the 2019 regular season. With Roethlisberger entering the final year of his contract, and him wanting to continue to play for a few more seasons, it just seems right a deal would be imminent.

Last Friday Roethlisberger was due a $5 million dollar roster bonus, which could have served as a deadline to get a deal done, but since that day has come and gone, the two sides have more time to has out the details.

Will Roethlisberger give the team a ‘hometown discount’?

Don’t hold your breath.

This per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler:

The quarterback market has mushroomed in such a way that neither side could have expected. When these sides last negotiated, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the league in average payout per year (APY) at $22 million, followed by Atlanta Falconsquarterback Matt Ryan ($20.75 million), Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco ($20.1 million) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($20 million).

Roethlisberger came in right behind Rodgers at $21.9 million.

Since then, seven quarterbacks have signed deals worth $25 million or more per year. The top four are above $27 million, led by Rodgers’ $33.5 million and Ryan’s $30 million. That’s a massive swing reflective of a rising salary cap and a position that continues to grow in importance.

But this is hardly the only factor in the contract negotiations between Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

APY is hardly the only factor in negotiations -- guaranteed money trumps all in most cases -- but asking Roethlisberger to take less than, say, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ($27 million) is a tough sell, especially when Roethlisberger is on record saying many quarterbacks without Super Bowl-level credentials are getting elite-level contracts.

According to Fowler, this deal could go well into the summer, but a reprieve from Roethlisberger’s huge salary cap hit might not be in the cards. At least not in the near future.

Fans shouldn’t worry about Roethlisberger playing under the final year of his deal though...most believe this will get done.

There’s no palpable tension here. This will get done.

But there also is reason to believe that if Roethlisberger’s side was taking some massive discount, it already would be completed.