“You know what? Obviously, I will do whatever I need to do,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s something that can be discussed when the time comes. It’s not really my thing. I play football. I have people to deal with all that stuff. I will do whatever it takes to stay here and be a part of this team and help this team win.”
Let me start by saying this. If Ben wants to get 22+ million per season, he absolutely could from someone other than Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan each signed contracts for about 20 million per season this past offseason.
Ben is 7-2 in his career against Joe Flacco, he has one more Superbowl ring (and two more appearances), and has just been more consistent in his career than Flacco. It would be very easy for his agent to argue Ben deserves a lot more than Flacco does.
Ben has earned that money, and if he pushed to get it, you couldn’t really fault him for that. We hear so often that the NFL is a business. If someone works to be the best in any profession, they expect to be paid like the best, and that doesn’t make them a bad guy in the real world, or in football.
That being said, if Ben were to receive something like a 5 year, 115 million dollar contract, this team won’t compete for a Superbowl the rest of his career barring some spectacular drafting. We saw this past off-season what Joe Flacco’s contract did to the Ravens in terms of letting talent walk, and I think you’ll start to hear whispers on whether Flacco deserves that much in the next couple of seasons.
More and more teams are winning with young quarterbacks, which can be a huge help financially. The Seattle Seahawks were able to go out and spend money on Percy Harvin and Cliff Avril this past off-season because Russel Wilson is playing like a vet, despite making pennies compared to most playoff quarterbacks.
The Steelers were really one of the first to benefit from that formula, with Ben taking them to a Superbowl in only his second season. They didn’t buy a lot of free agents like Seattle, but they were able to keep a very solid core intact for several years.
That’s how Ben could “break” this team. If he pushed to make that much he probably would be traded, and the Steelers would be in all out rebuild mode.
However, Ben has showed through his career that he seems to value rings over dollars. His most recent comments about “doing anything” to stay in Pittsburgh isn’t the first positive sign for Steeler nation. In just the past couple of seasons Ben has said that he wants more Superbowl’s than Bradshaw, and praised Tom Brady as the best quarterback in the NFL because he has the most rings.
If Ben were truly willing to take a “hometown discount” then the trade rumors are out the window. What reason could you have for wanting to trade a potential hall of fame quarterback that’s willing to sign for less?
That’s something that could also turn the state of this team around quickly. The cap situation forced us to let Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis walk this off-season. Wallace was the right choice, but this team could desperately use Lewis, especially when Ike is gone.
Signing Big Ben to a huge deal might mean losing guys like Maurkice Pouncey, Cortez Allen, or Cameron Heyward down the road.
Ben giving the team some cap relief will let them keep their own, and plug some holes. Now, we know that the Steelers aren’t going to go out and sign the biggest name on the market, but they don’t have to.
Superbowl rosters are built by drafting well, and picking the right free agents to fill holes. Jacoby Jones probably had as big an impact as anyone on the Ravens winning it all last year, and he wasn’t the first name off the free agent wire during the off-season.
We’re no stranger to impact free agents. Ryan Clark, James Farrior, Jeff Hartings, Keyaron Fox, Jerricho Cotchery, and Flozell Adams all have played big roles for the Steelers.
If Ben does in fact take less, he might come to the table with a few stipulations. My guess is the first one would be showing Todd Haley the door (which might happen anyway). I’d put money on either Kirby Wilson or Randy Fichtner stepping in. Fans will want to see some sort of change after this season anyway, so this is a small price to pay.
He also may tell them he wants this year’s first rounder to be for him. Meaning either a left tackle, or a wide receiver. Again, this is something that very likely may happen anyway, and isn’t asking much. There’s a couple of solid tackle prospects at the top of this draft, as well as a couple of wide receivers (one of which just happens to remind me a lot of Plaxico Burress).
The good news in all of this is that it appears that the Steelers front office, and Ben Roethlisberger are all-in on improving this team. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but that’s certainly a good spot to start from.