After winning his fourth Super Bowl, Tom Brady said he hopes to play "well into his 40s". At 37, Brady looks as good as ever. Even a 38-year old Peyton Manning managed to break a pair of single season passing records during the 2013 season.
While other position players tend to regress once they cross the age 30 mark, Ben Roethlisberger has only gotten better, punctuated by having the best statistical season of his career at age 32 in 2014.
Roethlisberger's role as the orchestrator of one of the most prolific offenses in Pittsburgh Steelers history has led general manager Kevin Colbert to conclude the two-time Super Bowl winner has a lot left in the tank, according to Scott Brown of ESPN.
"I really think Ben is going to be a better quarterback down the road than he is at this point," Colbert said Tuesday. "Ben is a franchise quarterback that's getting better with age."
Colbert announced Monday the team and Roethlisberger had begun preliminary discussions on a contract extension, potentially the last of his career, that will probably make him one of the highest paid passers in the game. Roethlisberger is in the final season of the 8-year $102 million contract he signed in 2008, but the Steelers have traditionally opted to extend quarterback contracts with a year, if not two, left on the deal.
After reworking his deal several times to help preserve cap space in the past, Roethlisberger is unlikely to settle on a "hometown discount", as previous contracts signed by statistically inferior passers such as Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan coupled with Ben's performance and solidification as a top-five quarterback give Roethlisberger plenty of leverage.
Colbert expects the process to be relatively painless, although he does admit the process could potentially take a while, stating, "when you have two sides hoping to achieve the same goal, it's all about working out the details."
With three 4,000 yard passing seasons under his belt since his 29th birthday and the likes of Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell hanging around, it's likely Roethlisberger's statistical ascension will continue as his place as a member of the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks is unquestionable.