Unlike Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger’s pay cut includes no ability to earn it back

Pittsburgh Steelers v Denver Broncos
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In 2015, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning agreed to reduce his $19 million in total pay to $15 million. The $4 million haircut wasn’t unconditional; Manning had the ability to make every penny back if the Broncos won the Super Bowl. They did, and he did.

In 2021, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has agreed to reduce his $19 million in total pay to $14 million. The $5 million haircut is unconditional. Even if the Steelers win the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger makes none of it back.

It’s unknown whether Roethlisberger sought an incentive package based on team achievement, or whether (if he did) the Steelers told him no. (The incentive would have counted against the 2022 cap, if earned.) Whatever the negotiations, he willingly accepted $5 million less than he was due to make for one more ride with the Steelers, creating $15 million in 2021 cap space. (He’ll still count for $26.25 million against the cap.)

Roethlisberger painted himself into a corner when he said that he doesn’t care what he makes this year. (Pro tip: If you say you don’t care about your pay, the person who pays you will hold you to it.) Once he said it, it became clear that the Steelers eventually would try to get him to take less than $19 million.

He has made plenty of money, but $5 million is still (wait for it) $5 million. Regardless, Ben is back for one more season — and likely for only one more season. There’s a chance he and/or the team will regret it, that he and/or the team will wish they’d just removed the Big Ben Band-Aid now instead of later.

15 responses to “Unlike Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger’s pay cut includes no ability to earn it back

  1. It’s all about alternatives. If he had been cut, would another team pay him $15 mil? And, would he want to go play for another team? Chances are, he would have retired or paid much less. So, I don’t think it’s about the $5 mil, it’s about what his other alternatives would have been.

  2. Or maybe Ben figured he’s made his money. Giving back 5 mill isn’t going to make him destitute.

  3. Philip Rivers got 25 mill for one year.
    Big Ben should have gone to the Patriots, one year 25 mill.

  4. Oh good grief – a deal is a deal. Both sides are happy with and have agreed to it. Let it play out and see what happens.

  5. Ben is a man’s man. His family is set for life many times over and he is doing what is best for the team. He is a STEELERS for life. I admire this move actually. He still wants to ball.

  6. There’s still time for the Steelers to give Ben a “financial apology” like the Eagles gave McNabb back in 09′!

  7. Maybe he can orchestrate a Farewell Tour out of this and make some of the $5M back with fabulous merchandise.

  8. A $5 million dollar donation split between his foundation and local charities would have been a nice touch.

  9. you sound more worried about the 5 mill than ben is…he’s made millions and wants to play… its called TINA.. there is no alternative

  10. Please do not compare Ben and Peyton. If Ben would of put 10% of the effort, study and practice as Peyton did Pittsburgh would of had at least one more super bowl added to it’s collection. As far as the incentives in this contract not being there…so what, Ben is lucky he is here at all.

  11. Rothlisberger is annoying, a diva and a whiner. But, I actually find the honesty about not caring what he made refreshing. He knew he had to take a cut, and he was willing to take one to play another year. He doesn’t want to change teams. Seems like a good situation for both.

  12. jzorbo73 says: March 5, 2021 at 12:05 pm Please do not compare Ben and Peyton. If Ben would of put 10% of the effort, study and practice as Peyton did Pittsburgh would of had at least one more super bowl added to it’s collection. As far as the incentives in this contract not being there…so what, Ben is lucky he is here at all. ———— I find it laughable you talking about someone else not studying enough when you dont know its should’ve or should have, “should of” means nothing unless…is that you Ricky from trailer park boys?

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