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Old 05-24-2007, 08:07 AM   #1
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Default Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?
Thursday, May 24, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ben Roethlisberger politely passed word that he had no time for an interview yesterday after Steelers practice; he had to hurry to meet his golf partner, Mario Lemieux.

Roethlisberger will not top Lemieux on the golf course, but he might soon surpass him in another area. No athlete in the history of Pittsburgh pro sports earned more money than the Penguins' Hall of Famer. Roethlisberger could be the one to do that.

The Steelers and Roethlisberger's agent have had early talks about a contract extension for the young quarterback. While it appears nothing will be done this season, the machinery is gearing up for what should be the largest contract in the organization's history.

"We've had some discussions with them," agent Ryan Tollner said. "I'm not sure what they're planning, other than certainly they're considering they want to do a deal. If they would want to start [serious negotiations] before the season, we'd have to start soon. It'll be a complicated contract. If not before this season, we're open to discussion, but I definitely expect it to happen following this season."

Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations, declined comment on any possible negotiations with Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger's next deal looms large over the organization already and might be one reason they won't or can't pay six-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca enough to keep him here beyond the 2007 season.

Roethlisberger will enter his fourth NFL season among the lowest-paid starting quarterbacks in the NFL -- strictly in terms of salary for the 2007 season. He is set to earn a salary of $1 million this year. He has received, however, many bonuses since he was drafted in the first round in 2004, including the initial $9 million in signing and roster bonuses within the first 11 months after he was drafted.

Still, his salary this season is less than backup Charlie Batch, who will make $1,355,000. Neither Tollner nor Roethlisberger have complained about it, and the agent realizes that with three years left on the quarterback's rookie contract, an extension may be a year away.

"At this point, our approach with the Steelers has been to keep things very positive and do what's best for the team," Tollner said. "We understand they have needs and other players to do first. Ben is a team player, and his focus is winning games and whatever's best for the team in that regard."

The Steelers have an unwritten policy that they do not extend players' contracts until they reach the point where they have just one year left on the deal. They have made exceptions for quarterbacks, extending the contracts of Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox when they had two years left.

In fact, Stewart still holds the record for Steelers quarterbacks for signing bonuses -- $8.1 million when he extended his contract three years in 1998, when there were two years left on his old one. Even though it occurred nine years ago, that signing bonus is second in team history only to Hines Ward's $9 million in 2005 (Roethlisberger's first bonus in 2004 originally was reported at $9 million, but that included reporting bonuses, making the signing bonus closer to $7.2 million).

Roethlisberger's rookie contract, negotiated by his then-agent Leigh Steinberg, was done with the intent on both sides that it would be renegotiated after the 2008 season. The lack of serious negotiations to this point underscores that point, even if other teams have written new contracts for their franchise quarterbacks after their second or third seasons in the league.

Four examples of that are Tom Brady, who earned a new deal after his second season with the New England Patriots; Carson Palmer, whose contract was extended by the Cincinnati Bengals in his third season; Jake Plummer, restructured by the Arizona Cardinals after his third season, and Donovan McNabb, whose rookie deal was redone after his third season with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Only the Cardinals came to regret those second deals.

Roethlisberger signed his six-year contract on the eve of training camp in 2004, and it was worth $14.26 million plus an $8 million roster bonus to be paid March 5, 2009. Because he reached so many performance bonuses and incentive clauses in his first two seasons, Roethlisberger earned many more millions.

"I'm sure the Steelers have a plan," Tollner said. "We've certainly discussed it with them and tried to figure what that plan is. We've mentioned their predicament with these other contracts and are doing our best to work with them."

Tollner promised there won't be a peep of discontent this year from Roethlisberger about his contract.

"At this point, Ben is not planning anything other than being there for every workout and playing this season to the best of his ability. Our approach is to communicate behind closed doors with the team, get something done and never have public scrutiny at all."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07144/788646-66.stm
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

This will an interesting one to watch, for sure.

Bens perfomance, and therefore his value to the team was on a pretty steep upward trend after his impresive 1st year and the SB win the 2nd year.

That came to an abrupt halt last year, where injuries and general team performance led to a pretty sharp drop off in production.

It remains to be seen how much Ben has been affected in permanent terms by what happened to him last year - or if the upward trend from 2004 and 2005 can be re-continued this year.

It would have certainly be very complicated to assess his true worth if the renegotiation had been due this offseason rather than next.

At this point Ben is a a top10 QB - if he can get back to his previous performance levels he solidify his position in the top5 and will probably be paid accordingly.
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Nice how Ed.B. worked the lead that Ben yet again blew off a request for an interview ("passed the word"? - through who, the clubhouse towel guy?) in the context of going to play golf with another high priced Pittsburgh athlete. Sounds like 2006 has not humbled Ben too much and that he still has a lot of diva in him.

I had forgotten Kordell got re-signed in 1998 with more than 1 year to go on his contract; the Steelers did not repeat that mistake when Kordell pushed for another early renegotiation after 2001.

It is all well and good that everyone "agreed" there would not be a renegotiation for Ben until 2008, but I bet if Ben's 2006 had been an improvement over or at least the same as 2004-05 that there would be serious discussions right now.

I agree with LITP that the Steelers are looking for a big 2007 out of Ben before opening up the vault - it may cost them some $$ but IMHO there is still some uncertainty if Ben is closer to a cosnsitently great Tom Brady/Peyton (I am not saying as great as, just in the neighborhood) or closer to a flash in the pan Kurt Warner/Kordell.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

I don't think it was "diva" to not interview when he had plans.And hell,with the way the media has painted a "Ben Hated Cowher" picture all offseason,I can't say I blame the guy.

Hell,most people decline phone calls when they are trying to go to a planned event.

If Ben and the Steelers get back on track in 2007 he'll be given the largest SB of any Pittsburgh Steeler ever.That's a no-brainer because the QB is normally the highest paid player on the team,and the Steelers will have to follow that trend to keep him.

However,if that contract were to become burdensome and cause the Steelers trouble to win in the future,I can see Ben restructuring it so the team can compete.Ben doesn't strike me as someone who will play on a crappy team for a ton of money.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoethlisBURGHer View Post
I don't think it was "diva" to not interview when he had plans.And hell,with the way the media has painted a "Ben Hated Cowher" picture all offseason,I can't say I blame the guy.

Hell,most people decline phone calls when they are trying to go to a planned event.

If Ben and the Steelers get back on track in 2007 he'll be given the largest SB of any Pittsburgh Steeler ever.That's a no-brainer because the QB is normally the highest paid player on the team,and the Steelers will have to follow that trend to keep him.

However,if that contract were to become burdensome and cause the Steelers trouble to win in the future,I can see Ben restructuring it so the team can compete.Ben doesn't strike me as someone who will play on a crappy team for a ton of money.
i think he would rather win than get a ton of money to play for a non contending team
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Personally would wait a year to see if he bounces back 100%...
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Quote:
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Personally would wait a year to see if he bounces back 100%...
That is basicly what they are doing.The article basicly said that nothing would get done this season.

All they are doing is feeling eachother out,seeing what each one is thinking.It's a good idea because it shows Ben and the fans that just because they won't pay Faneca doesn't mean they won't pay Ben.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Looks like a feeling out process and nothing more. I believe Ben has been coached at an early age and he is very well grounded. I don't see him going else where just because he's a few dollars off. I believe he is the type of QB that is worried about winning more Super Bowls and not increasing his bank account. Because he knows that with the winning of Super Bowls comes the endorsement deals!!
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Don't blame Ben for passing on a interview....Hey ! he had a tee time...nobody understands that more than me....there is plenty of season to give interviews...go out and grab some sun and hit em long and straight Big Ben !
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Will Roethlisberger be cashing in early?

Passing on the interview doesn't strike me as "diva" to me at all. He had plans. If he actually did the interview, he might say something, the media will take those words and spin it out to be something he didn't mean to say and make Ben out to be a bad guy or something else. Like Roethlisburgh said, Ben said he and Cowher didn't always agree or get along, and the media painted a "Ben hated Cowher" picture. You all know how desperate the media gets for a story.
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