Reports earlier this month indicated the Steelers were expected to discuss an extension with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and club owner Art Rooney II confirmed this week that those talks have indeed begun.
“We’ve already started talking to him and his representative about extending that contract,” Rooney said, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I think Ben has some good years left. I’d still say he’s close to being in the prime of his career.
“Now that we’re seeing quarterbacks around the league that are playing into their 40s,” Rooney added. “I’m not sure there’s any reason that Ben can’t play for several more years. We’re looking forward to that.”
Roethlisberger, 36, is entering the final season of his current deal. He’s scheduled to earn a $12MM base salary and a $5MM roster bonus, and carries a cap charge of $23.2MM. Pittsburgh is among the bottom-10 teams in 2019 cap space, so a Roethlisberger extension would serve not only to lock in the star quarterback for a few more years, but give the Steelers financial breathing room. By handing Roethlisberger a signing bonus which would be spread out cap-wise over the length of his new deal, the Steelers could create extra cap space.
Roethlisberger set career-highs in completions (452), pass attempts (675), passing yards (5,129), and touchdowns (34) this past season. Advanced metrics lauded Roethlisberger’s work, as well, as he finished fourth in Total QBR and eighth in adjusted net yards per attempt. Meanwhile, Roethlisberger ranked fifth in Football Outsiders‘ DYAR, which measures value over a replacement level player, and eighth in DVOA, meaning he was effective on a per-play basis.
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