Steelers president Art Rooney II indicated last week that his team intends to postpone contract talks with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger until after the 2014 season rather than addressing the situation while Big Ben still has two years left on his deal. After initially suggesting he’d be happy to “concentrate on football,” Roethlisberger spoke to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at greater length this weekend about his current and future contracts with the team.
“Playing this year at my current salary, it’s kind of taking a hometown discount,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ve played seven years on my current contract, which is the most of any (NFL) player or any quarterback. … It is kind of taking a discount compared to maybe where it could be compared to other quarterbacks.”
Although Roethlisberger didn’t express any discontent with what he perceives to be a “hometown discount,” he noted that he’ll have to “do what’s best for [his] family” when it comes to signing a new contract, which could indicate he’ll pursue an annual salary more in line with the league’s highest-paid signal-callers. The longtime Steeler has the league’s second-highest cap number for a quarterback in 2014, but the ’14 cash value of his deal ranks outside the top 10 QBs.
Addressing Roethlisberger’s upcoming extension negotiations, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com wrote that the 32-year-old will inevitably make more than $20MM per year on his next deal, which the Steelers will have to realize is unavoidable. In La Canfora’s view, there’s no way that Roethlisberger won’t finish his career in Pittsburgh, and GM Kevin Colbert echoed that sentiment today while speaking to reporters, including Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link).