Late Friday afternoon has become for the NFL and other industries the place where bad news goes to die. So it was curious, to say the least, that the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dropped what supposedly is good news into the national bad news circular file.
Even more curious is the absence of any information regarding the value of the five-year contract (four-year extension) signed by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The rule of thumb in the NFL agent community is that, if contract details aren’t leaked within 24 hours after the news of the deal emerges, they must not be great for the player. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, both the player and the team wanted the numbers of Roethlisberger’s new deal to not be leaked.
Eventually, they will be; the contract can be kept from the media, but it can’t be kept from the league office or the NFL Players Association. Once the information makes it way to New York City or Washington, D.C., it inevitably will makes its way to the rest of us.
Roethlisberger has a base salary of $11.6 million in 2015. Past restructurings had pushed the cap number to $18.395 million — setting the stage for a franchise tag of $22.074 million in 2016.
At a bare minimum, then, the deal should contain $33.674 million fully guaranteed over the next two years. Based on the market, it also should have a signing bonus in the range of $25 million (which Tony Romo got on his most recent deal, two years ago) to $37 million (which Drew Brees got on his most recent deal, nearly three years ago).
When rumors and reports emerged in late 2013 of Roethlisberger wanting to be traded, some (e.g., me) eventually concluded that the team possibly leaked the news in the hopes of getting Roethlisbeger to make a clear statement that he’d never leave Pittsburgh. Which eventually would be followed by Roethlisberger agreeing to a team-friendly retirement contract.
The absence of any leaks regarding the contract details suggests that a team-friendly contract was signed. Last year, Roethlisberger said the latter years of his existing contract were “kind of taking a hometown discount.” Soon, we’ll find out whether he went the rest of the way from “kind of.”