News & Info/Headlines

Steelers Extend Big Ben Through 2021
The Steelers maintained all offseason that they wanted to work out a contract extension for Ben Roethlisberger. More recent reports indicated they wanted to get a deal done before the 2019 NFL Draft started.

Today, they made good on their desire.

The 37-year-old Roethlisberger, who was drafted by the Steelers in 2004, was heading into the final season of four-year, $87.6 million deal that he signed in 2015. Pittsburgh, however, wanted to retain him beyond that. The two sides have been talking since the end of the season and the deal is complete and now, as he heads into his 16th season with the club, Roethlisberger does so with a new three-year contract.

It's not yet clear how much Roethlisberger will make, but early reports suggest it will be slightly less that what the Seattle Seahawks paid quarterback Russell Wilson, who became the highest-paid player in the NFL when he signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension last week.

(Subsequent reporting indicates the two new years are worth $63 million.)

Whatever the case, Roethlisberger's new deal is essentially a two-year extension on top of the year remaining on his previous deal. The contract ties Big Ben to Pittsburgh through the 2021 season and all but assures that Big Ben starts and finishes his NFL career all in Pittsburgh.

“I am grateful to the Rooneys and the Steelers organization for continuing to believe in me,” Roethlisberger said in a statement. “It has always been a goal to play my entire career in Pittsburgh. This is home for me and my family, and we love this city. I am as excited to be a Steeler in year 16 as I was when they drafted me. They will get my absolute best.”

Roethlisberger enters the 2019 season in sixth place in all-time passing yards, seventh place in passing touchdowns and seventh place in completed passes. Steelers owner Art Rooney II noted those totals by calling Roethlisberger one of the “most productive” quarterbacks in history, but said in his own statement that “Ben’s focus is on only one goal — to bring another Lombardi trophy back to Pittsburgh.”

Roethlisberger, who turned 37 on March 2, has two Super Bowl victories and ranks sixth all time in passing yards (56,194) and seventh in touchdowns (363). He led the NFL in passing yards in 2018 with 5,129. The Steelers never have had a losing season with him at quarterback, and he is among the franchise leaders in career games played with 216.

With Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell no longer in the picture in Pittsburgh, the team will rely on Roethlisberger to get the most out of rising young teammates like James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald along with any newcomers that show up in the draft and at least a few veteran journeymen -- with Donte Moncrief among those hoping to take advantage of that situation as well.