It has been said that change is the only constant in life. Although I don’t believe the Greek philosopher Heraclitus had NFL contracts in mind, we have seen time and time again how the highest paid player sometimes only lasts days before a new contract is signed. Heading into the 2020 off-season, it is certain that several players will be signing some large contracts before another NFL game is played. But for the time being, Ben Roethlisberger has the second highest salary cap number for 2020 according to the experts at overthecap.com.
Top 10 NFL salary cap charges in 2020— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) February 3, 2020
1 Goff- $36M
2 Roethlisberger- $33.5M
3 Cousins- $31M
3 Wilson- $31M
5 Garoppolo- $26.6M
5 Mack- $26.6M
7 V. Miller- $25.6M
8 Donald- $25M
9 Ryan- $24.2M
10 Flacco- $23.7M
The reason it is important to note that Rothlisberger‘s current cap number is the second highest is because two different factors could come into play to change this list:
Other players could sign larger contracts before the beginning of next season
While this is possible, it’s probably unlikely any new contract will surpass Roethlisberger‘s current $33.5 million cap hit for 2020. Usually when a player signs a new contract, it comes with a large signing bonus which gets spread over the length of the contract and reduces the cap hit for the first year. But with this being the final year of the CBA and the 30% rule governing new contracts, teams can’t simply have a minimal base salary the first season of the deal and have everything be signing bonus. With these constraints, it is possible a contract could get that high, but not very likely.
Roethlisberger’s cap number could be lowered slightly
Another possibility which would change Roethlisberger’s salary cap situation would be for the Steelers to do a slight restructure of his current deal. The reason the restructure would be “slight” is due to the aforementioned 30% rule governing the final year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. With a player salary not permitted to be increased or reduced by 30% from the previous year, there is only so much of Rotehlisberger’s base salary which can be converted into a signing bonus in 2020. The most the Steelers could do would be right around $6 million which they could spread into the final two years of his contract. Therefore, Roethlisberger’s salary cap number could be reduced by a little more than $3 million for 2020. While it might not be much, it may be necessary for the Steelers to conduct business. If a new collective-bargaining agreement is signed prior to the start of the league year on March 15, 2020, the 30% rule would no longer apply and the Steelers could choose to push a larger percentage of Roethlisberger’s cap hit into 2021 if they deem it necessary.
Regardless of where Ben Roethlisberger‘s salary cap number finishes in terms of the rest of the NFL for 2020, there’s no mistaking he is using up a large portion of the Steelers cap space. Currently at 16.8% of the total salary cap, Roethlisberger is commanding a lot of money of the Steelers salary cap for a quarterback who did not throw a touchdown in 2019. With so much of the Steelers hopes and money tied into the surgically repaired elbow, Roethlisberger does not hold the Steelers future in his hand as much as in humeroulnar joint.