The Steelers have transitioned from one of the top young teams in the NFL into an older roster at the salary cap over recent years. They have to maximize every dollar they spend going forward, and two of their major extension candidates will not be immune to this behavior.
Cornerback Cortez Allen is approaching the final year of his rookie deal, and the team is determined to get him signed to an extension before the beginning of the season, writes Mark Kaboly of the Steel Mill. They recently made the mistake of not extending Keenan Lewis prior to his final contract year, and eventually lost him to a giant contract with the Saints.
“That’s not my concern right now. Football is my concern,” Allen said. “I am just trying to help the team win games. That stuff will take care of itself. I don’t focus on it too much.”
The team is $6.5MM under the cap as of right now, and could still fit Allen in that room with an extension.
While the team wants to extend Allen as soon as possible, they have taken a more patient approach with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The face of the franchise has two years left on his contract, but the team has traditionally extended him at that point during past negotiations.
Roethlisberger has struggled with injuries throughout his career, and at 32, is beginning to hit the downside of his career. Especially with the recent up and down play of his fellow quarterbacks of the 2004 NFL Draft, the team may not be as excited to commit themselves to a quarterback for the next five years. Eli Manning had a disastrous 2013 season, and Philip Rivers bounced back in 2014 after a sharp decline in the two years before that.
“As I put my faith and trust in them, when the time is right, we’ll get it done,” said Roethlisberger. “Now I can just concentrate on football.”
Still, Roethlisberger will have a chance to earn one final contract with serious star quarterback money. He needs to stay healthy and return the Steelers to the playoffs. Rivers bounced back to have one of his best seasons, and put him back at the forefront of NFL quarterbacks, as one of the best veteran passers in the game. Roethlisberger is a few years removed from his last Super Bowl appearance, but has been a top quarterback in the league for a long time, and save for a catastrophic year, will be in line for his extension next offseason.