While the Pittsburgh Steelers move up in the 2019 NFL Draft to select Devin Bush might have been one of the more exciting things to happen to the Steelers this offseason, it would be fair to say that the most significant event of the year so far has been extending the contract of Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers star quarterback signed an extension worth a total of $68 million, a deal that also comes with a signing bonus worth $37.5 million. Now set to earn $45 million in cash in just the first year of his new contract, as per the details released by Pittsburgh salary cap expert Ian Whetstone on Friday, Roethlisberger will now cost the team an additional $3 million against the salary cap in 2019 than previously scheduled.
The Steelers took on an additional $3M salary cap charge with Roethlisberger's extension. His cap hit this year jumped from $23.2M to $26.2M. His hits in 2020-2021 will average $32.5M.— Ian Whetstone (@IanWhetstone) April 26, 2019
To go with the $45M he'll make this year--$37.5M signing bonus, $2.5M base salary, and the $5M roster bonus earned back in March--Ben Roethlisberger will make $21M in 2020 and $19M in 2021. His salary cap hits will be $26.2M this year, $33.5M next year, and $31.5M in 2021.— Ian Whetstone (@IanWhetstone) April 26, 2019
Much like Russell Wilson, in lieu of guarantees, Roethlisberger got great cash flow in his deal. He earns 53% of the three-year total in year one, and locks in the lion's share of the 2020-2021 cash very early in those league years in the form of roster bonuses.— Ian Whetstone (@IanWhetstone) April 26, 2019
Originally, Roethlisberger had been due to earn a base salary of $12 million this year and a roster bonus of $5 million he was paid earlier in the month, costing a total of $23.2 million against the cap thanks to a prorated signing bonus of $6.2 million.
While the outstanding prorated signing bonus and roster bonus amounts must still be accounted for this year, the majority of his base salary for 2019 has been turned into a signing bonus. In reality, $9.5 million of the $37.5 million he will now earn as a signing bonus was actually money he was already due to earn as base salary.
In laying out these details in a for traditional format, it should be noted that is is quite likely that a portion of the base salaries in 2020 and 2021 will be paid as a roster bonus instead, but the total amount paid each year will remain the same.
The terms of the new contract make it an absolutely certainty that Big Ben will at least see the second year of this new deal, but potential cap savings of $19 million in 2021 could be attractive if an option like Mason Rudolph is ready to take over.