Steelers Resign Ben Roethlisberger – Can Pittsburgh Reload for Another Super Bowl Run?

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Ben Roethlisberger to a 5 year contract extension reportedly valued at 99 million dollars with a potential to escalate to 108 million depending on incentives. The deal binds Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers until 2019, when he’ll turn 37.

Specific terms of the contract were not  immediately disclosed, but the key to understanding any NFL contract is the signing bonus and other salary guarantees, but during the press conference Steelers President Art Rooney II described the deal as “Very fair to Ben Roethlisberger, very fair to the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review however has reported that Ben Roethlisberger’s contract includes a 31 million dollar signing bonus, and his overall compensation puts him just below the Packer’s Aaron Rodgers.

While Ben Roethlisberger’s contract extension was not real “news,” it does put to rest rumors that surfaced in 2013 that Roethlisberger was unhappy in Pittsburgh and desired a trade.

In fact, when asked about his vision for the future, Roethlisberger made no bones about it, declaring:

Our goal is to win Lombardi Trophies. I am excited to be able to really put the pedal to the metal. I think we have a good, young football team that has a lot of talent and a lot of ability. Walking over here I asked if there was room in that trophy case for more trophies, because that has to be our ultimate goal.

Yes, the Lombardi Trophy is Pittsburgh’s only measure of success. With the Steelers resigning Ben Roethlisberger to a 5 year contract, Art Rooney has ensure that the most important element for getting another Lombardi is in place.

But Ben Roethlisberger is only one element. He can’t do it himself.

Can Pittsburgh Put Enough Talent Around Ben Roethlisberger for Another Super Bowl Run?

When the Steelers last extended Ben Roethlisberger’s contract in 2008, Steel Curtain Rising opined, “The Steelers have Resigned Roethlisberger, now comes the hard part.” The hard part was namely protecting him.

  • After only being sacked 25 times en route to Super Bowl XL, Roethlisberger’s sack total soared to 46 in 2006 and then 27 in 2008.

The Steelers had neglected the offensive line in the draft, and the tendency continued in their 2008 and 2009 drafts. However, with Maurkice Pouncy’s arrival in 2010, followed by Marcus Gilbert’s in 2011, and David DeCastro’s in 2012 that changed.

  • Todd Haley was brought in largely to help protect Ben from himself.

And while it took a while, Ben’s sack total was down to 33 in 2014, even though he started every game. And, if the performance of the Steelers offense during the later half of 2014 is any guide, the Steelers have the offensive fire power to make a run at another Super Bowl.

  • The Steelers defense, however, is another question, altogether.

With Cameron Heyward, Steve McLendon, Stephon Tuitt, and Daniel McCullers the Steelers have a solid base on the defensive line. Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shaizer, Vince Williams and Sean Spence give the Steelers excellent depth at inside linebacker.

  • Outside linebacker and the secondary remain BIG question marks, however.

There’s no need to rehash the question marks that surround Jarvis Jones, the lack of someone to start opposite him, and those surrounding Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, and Cortez Allen. Not to mention the lack of depth at corner, even if Allen does bounce back.

Comparison of 49er’s of ‘80’s Not Steelers of ‘70’s Most Apt

Its inevitable that any talk of Ben Roethlisberger and Lombardis will draw comparisons to the Steelers of the 70’s. And so it should. But those comparisons, while fun and interesting, are not quite accurate.

  • The Steelers of the 1970’s got drafted together, won Super Bowls together, and grew old together.

In contrast, when the Steelers took Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, they were a Super Bowl ready team, although few called it that way. During the Steelers 6-10 2003 campaign even Steelers Digest Editor Bob Labriolia compared the Steelers to an someone with a serious weight problem who didn’t get that way overnight and wouldn’t rebound over night either.

  • No, the better comparison is the 49’ers of the 80’s.

Joe Montana serves as a contestant for those teams, but the make up for the 49’ers ’81, ’85, ’88 and ’89 teams is remarkably different. The 49er’s managed to constantly re-load and keep the team competitive while Montana’s health allowed him to continue to play at championship caliber football.
The Steelers efforts of the past several seasons have aimed at doing the same thing.

Can the Steelers and Roethlsiberger pull it off? Who knows? For the record Roethlisberger turns 33 this year and Joe Montana was 33 when he won his last Super Bowl….

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