Ben Roethlisberger a stay-at-home QB
As speculation continues to swirl about Ben Roethlisberger’s future, the Steelers quarterback makes one thing clear: He doesn’t want to go anywhere for the rest of his career.
“I want to be in Pittsburgh,” Roethlisberger said in a Friday interview on Pittsburgh’s WDVE radio. “I hope that’s very clear to everybody that I want to stay. My family wants to stay. We do not want to ask for a trade, we don’t want to go anywhere. I want to finish my career here. I’ve always said that, and I still feel firmly that way.”
But while there’s no questioning Roethlisberger’s desire to remain in Pittsburgh, there’s no guarantee it will happen. Just ask Peyton Manning, who said repeatedly during his run with the Colts that he wanted to finish his career in Indianapolis.
Health concerns aren’t the issue with Roethlisberger as they were with Manning, who was released after the 2011 season and then signed with Denver. Money is the bigger issue; Roethlisberger, who turns 32 in March, has two years remaining on his current deal, will ultimately want a contract extension. And that’s where it gets tricky, because the aging Steelers are in a major transition and may part ways with several longstanding veterans like Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and Heath Miller.
By elite quarterback standards, Roethlisberger has relatively modest salaries of $12.1 million in 2014 and $11.6 million in 2015. But his cap numbers are more than $18 million each season due to previous restructurings.
Do the Steelers try and re-do the deal after this season, when it would bring down Roethlisberger’s salary cap numbers while offering him more long-term security? Or do they roll the dice and wait it out, paying dearly on the cap in 2014 and 2015?
Complicated questions, for sure, but perhaps they will ultimately be simplified by Roethlisberger’s underlying goal in all of this: to finish his career in Pittsburgh.