Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II and Ben Roethlisberger both called the new contract extension the franchise quarterback received as "fair for both sides". As details of the new contract are released, the money Roethlisberger is guaranteed, especially in the first three years of the deal, are blazing a new trail for contracts given to quarterbacks.
Per Jason La Confora of CBSSports.com, Roethlisberger will make a maximum of $108 million dollars in the new 5-year deal which was inked recently. Some lofty incentives will likely have the deal topping out at $99 million over the duration of the new contract. Those numbers aren't mind blowing, but what is shocking is how Roethlisberger will be guaranteed $65 million dollars within the first three years of the new deal.
Those numbers might seem staggering, but the reality of today's NFL is franchise quarterbacks are few and far between, and when you have one you hold onto them. Roethlisberger now enters an elite group of highly paid quarterbacks who are guaranteed over $20 million dollars a season. Others in the class are: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. The list looks to grow as Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton all will be looking for extensions in the coming years.
La Confora points to three main categories when evaluating new quarterback contracts. Annual average (money added to current deal), guaranteed money at signing and first 3 years earnings. In terms of annual average, Roethlisberger's $21.9 million is only behind Rodgers' $22 million, but in the other two categories Roethlisberger leads the pack with $60.75 guaranteed at signing and $65 million in the first three years of earnings.
Plain and simple, Roethlisberger's new deal could set the trend for signal callers looking for their share of compensation in the future.
The move didn't save the Steelers much cap space as many fans thought it would, estimated to save only around $1 million dollars on the 2015 salary cap, but this new deal truly was a good deal for Roethlisberger, as well as the Steelers. If, and that can be a big if, Roethlisberger is able to remain healthy and continue to thrive in Todd Haley's system, the Steelers just locked up a top 5 quarterback for what seems the duration of his career.