Roethlisberger’s contract was originally scheduled to expire after 2015. This new deal will keep him in Pittsburgh through 2019 and pay him 99 million over those 5 years, with escalators that can make it worth up to 108 million. It’s a lot of money, obviously, but it’s the going rate for an average or better starting quarterback. If you have a quarterback that you want to keep long-term, you need to give him this kind of deal because you know that someone else will on the open market if you don’t, given how today’s NFL is. You just better hope that the quarterback you’re giving this deal of deal to is closer to Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning than they are to Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco or Colin Kaepernick.
I think Roethlisberger is closer to the former. Roethlisberger’s issue used to be injuries, as a result of his playing style. He rarely suffered significant injuries, but he played all 16 games just once in 9 seasons from 2004-2012. However, Todd Haley has implemented an offense that has more quicker, short throws and forces the ball out of Roethlisberger’s hand quicker, which has led to him playing all 32 games over the past 2 seasons combined. It took a little bit for him to be comfortable in the new scheme, with the new playing style, but he’s completed 65.7% of his passes for an average of 7.73 YPA, 60 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions over the past 2 seasons and is coming off of a season in which he had a 103.3 QB rating, 2nd best in his career.
Last season he was Pro Football Focus’ 3rd ranked quarterback. That’s the highest he’s ever ranked in their 8-year history, but he’s always been very solid, ranking 4th in 2007, 26th in 2008, 6th in 2009, 6th in 2010, 7th in 2011, 7th in 2012, and 11th in 2013. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL and this contract pays him appropriately. It might seem slightly concerning that this contract takes him through his age 37 season, but more and more quarterbacks have played well into their mid and late 30s over the past decade or so and the guaranteed money doesn’t run until that season. This is a good deal.