Back in November, when the Steelers were stumbling their way through the 2013 season and looked very much like one of the NFL's worst teams, an NFL Network report suggested that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would ask for a trade after the season.
Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger's agent and the Steelers all promptly denied the report with Big Ben going so far as to say that he wants to retire in Pittsburgh. On Wednesday, general manager Kevin Colbert reiterated the organization's intentions to do just that.
“We all recognize we are very fortunate to have a franchise QB,” Colbert told 93.7 The Fan. “He still has a lot of tread on the tires. We feel great about how last season finished and we hope to build on that. It's unanimous we all want Ben to finish his career here.”
The biggest issue facing the Steelers is whether they will try to extend Roethlisberger's contract this offseason or next. His deal runs through the 2015 season. According to OvertheCap.com, Big Ben's salary-cap hit will be $18.9 million in 2014 and $18.4 the following year. A new or restructured deal would create much-needed savings but the Steelers are also tight against the 2014 salary cap.
Put another way: When Roethlisberger gets his next contract will be largely dependent on the team's other personnel moves in the coming weeks and months.
"We have some decisions to make,” Colbert conceded. “We have some cap issues, but it's not overwhelming. We have got to go through the whole process and make the best decisions we can. There are so many moving parts. This will continue up to the free agency March 11 deadline and beyond.”