Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers Reportedly Start Contract Talks

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

After having retirement talks surface in recent years, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers are exploring a possible extension as the offseason gets underway.

Steelers president Art Rooney II revealed on Wednesday that the two sides have already engaged in discussions, per ESPN.com:

"We've already started talking to him and his representative about extending that contract. I think Ben has some good years left. I'd still say he's close to being in the prime of his career.

"Now that we're seeing quarterbacks around the league that are playing into their 40s, I'm not sure there's any reason that Ben can't play for several more years. We're looking forward to that."

Roethlisberger's current contract runs through the 2019 season. Per Spotrac, he will have a base salary of $12 million next year.

A first-round pick back in 2004, Roethlisberger has spent his entire 15-year career in the Steel City. He has set the franchise record for both passing yards (56,194) and passing touchdowns (363) while adding a pair of Lombardi Trophies to the team's trophy case.

This past season marked the second time in the six-time Pro Bowler's career that he led the league in passing yards. He completed 67 percent of his passes in 2018 for 5,129 yards—the first time he has eclipsed 5,000 in his career—and 34 touchdowns. And while he put up some prolific numbers, he also threw an NFL-high 16 interceptions.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, Roethlisberger's big season wasn't enough to help the team reach the postseason. Pittsburgh (9-6-1) missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2013 after losing four of its final six games.

Retirement rumors have surrounded the aging signal-caller in recent years. However, he decided not to have any drama surrounding his status heading into this offseason, as he made it clear back in December that he planned to return for a 16th season.

"I have every intention of coming back next season, but I don’t wanna look ahead to then," Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan (h/t 247Sports' Bryan DeArdo). "We still have an opportunity this season."

That shouldn't come as any surprise, though. He previously told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he intends to play "three to five more years."

Roethlisberger will be 37 years old when the 2019 season kicks off.

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