Ben Roethlisberger

Contract Details: Roethlisberger, Hageman

A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:

Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger Agree To Extension

The Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger have agreed to a three-year contract extension, according to Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette (on Twitter). The new pact will keep Big Ben in place through the 2021 season. 

Once finalized, the deal will pay well north of $30MM per year for 2020-21, placing him in the top-three highest paid quarterbacks for those two years, a source tells ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). In total, he gets a $63MM base value on his two new years, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Prior to the new deal, 2019 was set to be the walk year for Big Ben. Now, he has a contract that should take him through the end of his career.

Whether Roethlisberger is a good teammate or not has been a hot topic of late, but his on-field production continues to be top-notch, as he set career-highs in completions (452), pass attempts (675), passing yards (5,129), and touchdowns (34) this past season.

Big Ben started all 16 games last year, the first time he had done that since the 2014 season. The Steelers had a down season as a team and didn’t make the playoffs, but Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards. On the flip side, he also led the league with 16 interceptions.

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. His status in the locker room, whatever it might be, was not a factor in contract talks.

The Steelers, of course, narrowly missed the playoffs in 2018 despite Big Ben’s impressive statistics, and the team is now without Antonio Brown. But Pittsburgh has never had a losing season with Roethlisberger at quarterback, and despite the trade of Brown, the club should once again compete for the AFC North crown.

Roethlisberger was set to carry a cap charge of $23.2MM this season. The extension should lower that figure and give the Steelers a little more breathing room heading into the draft and the later stages of free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Want To Extend Ben Roethlisberger Before Draft

The Steelers are working hard to extend quarterback Ben Roethlisberger prior to the draft on Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Big Ben has one year left on his current deal, but the club wants to keep him “well beyond” the 2019 season. And, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (via Twitter), contract talks are moving in the right direction.

We recently heard that Roethlisberger was not necessarily pushing for a new contract, but that discussions between player and team were ongoing. The two sides have been discussing a re-up at least since January, and given that Roethlisberger could earn upwards of $60MM in the 2020-21 campaigns if the team used the franchise tag on him, that figure could be a primary benchmark in negotiations.

Whether Roethlisberger is a good teammate or not has been a hot topic of late, but his on-field production continues to be top-notch, as he 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. His status in the locker room, whatever it might be, does not figure to be a factor in contract talks.

The Steelers, of course, narrowly missed the playoffs in 2018 despite Big Ben’s impressive statistics, and the team is now without Antonio Brown. But Pittsburgh has never had a losing season with Roethlisberger at quarterback, and despite the trade of Brown, the club should once again compete for the AFC North crown.

Roethlisberger is set to carry a cap charge of $23.2MM this season, and an extension would lower that figure and give the Steelers a little more breathing room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bears, Anderson, Steelers

Anthony Miller showed promise for the Bears as a rookie, hauling in seven touchdown receptions and being a key player from the outset of the team’s NFC North championship season. The Memphis product dealt with a shoulder injury, however, for much of the season. Miller said he dislocated his shoulder at least five times during his rookie campaign, with Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune noting the first such dislocation came in September and the last had him a shell of his optimal version. By season’s end, Miller had faded, finishing his first regular season with a four-catch, 25-yard December. Miller underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in January and expects to be limited throughout the Bears’ offseason program, per Kane, but understandably anticipates a production increase as an NFL sophomore — should he sufficiently recover from this ailment.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Details are in on C.J. Anderson‘s Lions deal, courtesy of Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The veteran running back’s one-year agreement is worth nearly $1.5MM and can max out at $3MM (Twitter links). Anderson received $200K to sign. Anderson signed for one year and nearly $1.7MM with the Panthers last year. Both of these agreements represent steep pay reductions when compared to Anderson’s previous four-year, $18MM Broncos pact. But the 27-year-old back stands to play a key part in Detroit’s backfield this season, perhaps setting him up for another contract in 2020.
  • Despite the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger having been engaged in extension discussions for more than a month, no impasse between the parties exists, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. While the Steelers have spoken with Big Ben’s agent, Ryan Tollner, little dialogue has transpired between the Steelers and their 16th-year quarterback, Dulac adds. One year and $23.2MM remain on Roethlisberger’s current deal. Despite entering his age-37 season, Roethlisberger stands to take on even greater importance this coming year — considering the caliber of players the Steelers recently lost.
  • The Steelers are doing some research on higher-end cornerbacks in this year’s draft, hosting Rock Ya-Sin and Justin Layne on pre-draft visits Friday, Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette notes. A former Division I-FCS transfer who played just one season at Temple, the 6-foot Ya-Sin nevertheless rates as the No. 29 overall prospect on NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s board. A converted wide receiver, the 6-2 Layne started two seasons as a corner at Michigan State.
  • After a three-arrest offseason, running back Mark Walton received his walking papers from the Bengals.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers Still Talking Extension

Ben Roethlisberger is going to sign a new contract with the Steelers, but it doesn’t sound like anything is imminent. Pittsburgh’s GM Kevin Colbert told reporters today talks were “still ongoing”, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Interestingly, Colbert also acknowledged the fact that Roethlisberger’s career is entering it’s final stage. “This is probably his last contract as an NFL player, so it’s significant,” Colbert said. Roethlisberger is 37 now, and whatever deal he does end up signing will end up taking him into his early 40’s. Roethlisberger has flirted with retirement a few times in the past, but appears set to sign a huge new extension that will keep him around at least a few more years.

With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown no longer on the books, the Steelers suddenly have a lot more money they can use to lock up Roethlisberger. Big Ben started all 16 games last year, the first time he had done that since the 2014 season. The Steelers had a down season as a team and didn’t make the playoffs last year, but Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards. He also led the league with 16 interceptions.

Roethlisberger has faced a lot of criticism recently for his alleged calling-out of teammates, but Colbert doesn’t think it will effect things. “I don’t think that will bother him. I think Ben is very comfortable in who he is, what he has done and what he can still do. I don’t think it will affect him,” Colbert said, according to a tweet from Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Steelers, Antonio Brown

More drama on the Antonio Brown front. The Steelers asked the disgruntled wide receiver to delay his $2.5MM roster bonus, which is slated for March 17 and set to be paid in installments throughout next season. However, Brown declined, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

The Steelers want to delay the bonus for cap purposes, per Florio, who adds they may well be expecting Brown’s next team to actually pay this bonus rather than them. However, if Brown is still on Pittsburgh’s roster by St. Patrick’s Day, the $2.5MM goes against the Steelers’ cap.

Brown declining could be expected, given his actions this offseason. He tweeted he and the Steelers agreed a trade would be best for all parties, and Kevin Colbert said that will, indeed, be the goal, though only if it benefits the team. Having played with future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger throughout his career, Brown understandably wants to land with a team that employs a quality quarterback. He also seeks a new contract, but Florio notes the mercurial wideout has not ruled out agreeing to play for another team without having a new deal in place. In that case, Brown would expect a new contract to be agreed to before the season.

The Steelers will have to eat $21MM-plus in dead money with this trade, but that number rises to north of $23MM after March 17. They currently hold $16.3MM in cap space. A source told Florio the payment of this $2.5MM bonus would become a point of contention between the Steelers and other teams during trade talks. Brown is under the impression his bonus will arrive March 17.

Why wouldn’t they not trade me? They gotta pay me $2.5MM on March 17,” Brown said, via ESPN.com’s Jeff Darlington. “If I invoice you March 17, $2.5MM that you gotta pay me, would you pay it or would you get somebody else to pay it? So it’s what — pretty much what’s good for their business.”

Despite Brown being at the center of the drama that has unfolded in Pittsburgh this offseason, he does not believe this unraveling is his fault. again appearing to cite Roethlisberger’s November criticism of his play as a reason this situation fell apart.

I don’t take any blame,” Brown said, via Darlington. “I just think I took responsibility for my situation. You know, I didn’t point the finger; I didn’t make no one look bad; I didn’t throw no stones at anyone.”

This has gotten to be quite the complex rift, though Brown has fired most of the salvos. After the practice incident before Week 17, Brown skipped meetings and walkthroughs and ignored Mike Tomlin‘s attempts to reach him before attempting to suit up against the Bengals only to be denied that opportunity. Brown told Darlington that Tomlin told him to “go home” during the lead-up to Week 17 after informing the coach he was sore. This differs from Tomlin’s explanation of the events.

Brown also told Darlington he and Roethlisberger did not work out independently during offseasons and believes the relationships he had with Big Ben and Steelers brass should have be more substantial than they are.

Criticism really is a part of the job, you know what I’m saying? I answer criticism with achievement,” Brown said. “But, you know, and the professional level is, like, yo, like, if I’m your guy, make me know I’m your guy. But don’t say I’m your guy and then point the finger. Don’t say I’m your guy and then don’t throw me the ball the whole first quarter.

“I would’ve liked for me and Ben to be cool. You know what I mean? I thought we was cool. But when I think … I’ve been to his house one time. He’s been to my house one time. You know what I mean? We don’t work out in the offseason. You think that’s winning? That’s not winning.”

The Jets, Raiders, Redskins and Titans have been the teams now connected to Brown. Prior to the Combine, the 49ers were on the radar. They may re-emerge, but not much has transpired on this front as of late.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger Have Discussed Extension

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Roethlisberger, Prescott, Foles

We heard recently that the Steelers were hoping to extend Ben Roethlisberger soon, and now we have confirmation of that. Steelers owner Art Rooney recently confirmed the team intended to get a new deal done for Big Ben soon, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. “That’s certainly something that is on the agenda for this offseason,” Rooney said. Florio then dove into what a potential new contract for Roethlisberger, who has one year left on his current deal, would look like. Florio thinks Roethlisberger and his reps will demand “at least $28 million per year”, and points out that his current deal only paid him an average of $21.85 MM per year, far below market value. He also writes that Roethlisberger could choose to just play it year to year and make the Steelers franchise tag him for the next couple of seasons if they’re unwilling to meet his demands.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of quarterback extensions, Dak Prescott will need one soon as well. 2019 will be the last year of his rookie contract, and what kind of extension the Cowboys offer him will be one of the more interesting contract developments this offseason. Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry took a look at all of Dallas’ options, and came to the conclusion that inking Prescott to a new deal “may be a lot easier said than done.” He writes that the Cowboys may be reluctant to offer Prescott top of the quarterback market money because it would preclude them from extending other young players, but that Prescott’s agent Todd France has “a reputation for driving a hard bargain in negotiations”, and will be unlikely to back down. It’ll be fascinating to see how this one plays out, and whether Prescott ends up getting top quarterback money or has to settle for something in the lower $20MM’s.
  • Another quarterback to monitor this offseason is Nick Foles. It’s been made clear that Foles won’t be back in Philadelphia next season, but it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be traded or able to pick his own destination in free agency. Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer broke down all the scenarios for this spring, and included some telling quotes from Foles. The Eagles can exercise an option to keep Foles under contract for next year, which Foles could then void if he pays the team back $2MM, “essentially buying free agency” as Berman points out. Foles recently said “having the option to be a free agent is extremely important” indicating he would much prefer to choose his own landing spot rather than be dealt somewhere. But even if he does pay the voiding fee, the Eagles could still franchise tag him and then attempt to trade him. We should know a lot more by the start of free agency.
  • In case you missed it, the Chargers plan on extending Philip Rivers this offseason.

Steelers Expected To Extend Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger will be entering the final season of his contract in 2019, but it sounds like the Steelers quarterback may be sticking around for longer than that. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Steelers and Roethlisberger are expected to “restructure and extend” the quarterback’s deal prior to the beginning of the league year on March 13th.

In recent years, there have seemingly been whispers every offseason that the 36-year-old Roethlisberger could decide to hang up his cleats, although the veteran has hinted that he’s open to playing beyond his current contract. The Steelers did use a third-round pick on Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in this past year’s draft, but that wouldn’t necessarily prevent Roethlisberger from playing another handful of seasons. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes that team president Art Rooney II previously said that he’d like to ink Roethlisberger to one more contract.

Despite being up there in age, the veteran quarterback set career-highs in completions (452), pass attempts (675), passing yards (5,129), and touchdowns (34) this past season. Roethlisberger has taken an absolute beating throughout his career, and his 24 sacks in 2018 was his highest total since 2014. Still, the signal-caller managed to play in all 16 games for the first time since (of course) 2014.

The quarterback signed an extension with Pittsburgh back in 2015, and he’s set to have a cap charges of $23.2MM. As Schefter notes, an extension could open up some extra cap space for the Steelers, perhaps making an Antonio Brown trade more tolerable.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Antonio Brown, Steelers

Not only did the Steelers produce a six-Pro Bowler team that just missed the playoffs, they are dealing with another soap opera-esque plot development involving a superstar player. Antonio Brown has been unhappy for a while, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, and a Steelers source informed him the situation has “gotten worse” in 2018.

Reports Brown went AWOL on the Steelers last week have now led to teammates doubting if he was legitimately injured. Some, per NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkabwala (on Twitter), are skeptical. Mike Tomlin said the Steelers ordered a Brown MRI because of knee pain but that the All-Pro wide receiver did not show up for the exam. This has ignited Brown trade rumors, and players from other teams are making pitches.

As for a trade scenario, the Steelers would eat a $21MM dead-money hit in 2019 by shipping Brown elsewhere. This cap hit could be spread over multiple years if a deal occurs after June 1. As Tom Pelissero of NFL.com points out (via Twitter), no cap ramifications exist after 2019 — barring a post-June 1 trade — but the issue of trading the best player on the team may pose a problem for Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense. The Steelers, who frequently put money on future caps via restructures, have $28MM-plus in projected 2019 cap space.

One Steelers source’s working theory about Brown’s Week 17 actions is forcing JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was voted team MVP, to act as Pittsburgh’s top receiver, per Fowler. Smith-Schuster took a major leap forward this season, his receiving average shooting up from 65.5 yards per game to 89.1 per contest. Smith Schuster’s 1,426 yards topped Brown’s total (1,297), making it the first time Brown has not led the Steelers in receiving since 2012.

Brown still made the Pro Bowl and remains an elite pass-catcher, commanding top attention from defenses and creating better matchups for his younger sidekick. Fowler adds Brown was not happy Ben Roethlisberger — the target of his latest outburst — criticized his route-running after a November loss to the Broncos.

This century, the Steelers have only made substantial long-term wide receiver commitments to Brown and Hines Ward, reaching trade agreements to unload other talented receivers and letting other capable starters walk in free agency. Brown, 31 in July, has not requested a trade. Three more seasons remaining on the four-year, $68MM extension Brown signed during the 2017 offseason. Smith-Schuster cannot be extended until after the 2019 season.

Tomlin said Drew Rosenhaus’ Sunday-morning update his client was ready to play against the Bengals — despite leaving practice and missing Saturday Steeler activities — did not go over well with him. The 12th-year Pittsburgh coach told the high-powered agent Brown playing Sunday was off the table. Tomlin did meet with Brown on Sunday morning, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (subscription required), but hasn’t met with him since.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward also criticized Brown’s actions, calling them “unacceptable,” while indicating the Steelers still want Brown on the team. Linemen’s responses to the Le’Veon Bell drama affected the Steelers earlier this year, and Bell is on his way to free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.