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What might a Ben Roethlisberger contract extension look like?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in the news for a good reason. After months of drama surrounding former stars Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh is looking to move forward.

That could soon include general manager Kevin Colbert and Co. signing future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to an extension. Pittsburgh is hoping to get a deal done ahead of Thursday’s NFL Draft.

At 37 years old and with only one season remaining on his contract, Big Ben is vastly underpaid. In fact, his average annual salary of $21.85 million ranks 13th among NFL quarterbacks.

Here, we check in on what a Roethlisberger extension might look like.

Shorter term: Big Ben is unlikely to get a five-year contract.

  • Mostly all of the record-setting contracts we’ve seen handed out to quarterbacks recently have been five-year deals. One of the exceptions was the three-year fully-guaranteed contract Kirk Cousins signed with Minnesota last offseason.
  • Roethlisberger is likely looking at a three-year deal. Said extension would start in 2020 and run through the 2022 campaign.
  • If not, Pittsburgh might just tear up Big Ben’s current contract and give him a raise for the 2019 season.

Salary cap implications: Pittsburgh is not in the greatest shape.

  • This team heads into the draft less than $7 million under the cap. A huge allotment of that will be used to sign rookie-year players.
  • Pittsburgh could potentially restructure the contracts of defensive linemen Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt.
  • In turn, this would help the Steelers short term with Big Ben acquiring a raise for the 2019 season.

The breakdown: What it might look like.

  • If Pittsburgh is in fact looking at a shorter-term deal, Big Ben would net $90-plus million over three seasons with a nice amount of guaranteed cash.
  • As of right now, Big Ben’s contract calls for just $21.85 million in guarantees. Any extension would likely triple the guaranteed cash.
  • We’re looking at $60 million in guarantees for the first two seasons. Whether that includes the 2019 campaign remains to be seen.

There’s a lot of skeptics out there. Big Ben led the NFL in interceptions last season and seems to be regressing.

However, Pittsburgh made it clear that the team is hellbent on featuring the signal caller over the long haul. It made that decision in trading Antonio Brown back in March.

If that is indeed the case, an extension makes sense. Despite his struggles in 2018, Roethlisberger is worth much more than his current contract. It appears Pittsburgh realizes this.

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