Ben Roethlisberger's monstrous contract extension once again highlights Brady's selflessness

Alex Reimer
April 25, 2019 - 12:17 pm

Ben Roethlisberger’s new contract gives us another reason to appreciate Tom Brady’s propensity for taking below market deals. The aging Steelers QB just inked a two-year extension worth $68 million, with an additional $30 million in guarantees. Roethlisberger is now owed $80 million over the next three years with $67.5 million guaranteed.

Brady, meanwhile, is also entering the final year of his deal –– though there reportedly haven’t been any discussions about an extension. The Patriots restructured Brady’s contract last August, giving him $5 million in performance incentives to go along with his $15 base salary.

This season, Brady is due to earn $14 million in base salary, which places him 18th among quarterbacks in annual average value, per Spotrac. Roethlisberger averages out at $34 million per season, which places him between Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million annually) and Russell Wilson ($35 million per season). 

The Steelers didn’t make a mistake paying Roethlisberger, by the way. He’s the face of their franchise, especially in the aftermath of the Antonio Brown trade. With no succession plan in place, he must stay under center for the foreseeable future. The Steelers were forced to make it financially enticing.

While Roethlisberger remains one of the league’s most prolific passers –– he led with the league in attempts (675) and yards (5,129) last season –– the signs of slippage are there. He threw the most interceptions in the league in 2018 and has a maddening proclivity for throwing his teammates under the bus. It doesn’t help that Steelers GM Kevin Colbert referred to Roethlisberger’s teammates as “his kids.”

At 37 years old, the end for Roethlisberger is approaching, and it could get ugly. But Pittsburgh has no choice.

Over the next several months, except some of the league’s other elder statesmen at quarterback –– Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Eli Manning –– to sign new extensions as well. History tells us they’ll probably make more than Brady, and not be nearly as good or reliable. Brady was the highest-paid QB in the league in 2010, settling for a series of discounted deals since then

Other QB’s haven’t done the same, leaving their teams with less financial flexibility. Right now, Roethlisberger is the biggest symbol of the disparity.