Ben Roethlisberger considered one of NFL’s most overpaid players

Tommy Jaggi
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Ben Roethlisberger
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Ben Roethlisberger /

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Ben Roethlisberger a massive contract extension in 2019. Here’s why he is considered to be one of the NFL’s most overpaid players.

Despite leading the league in passing yards in 2018, we’ve seen Ben Roethlisberger’s play decline in a few areas late in his career. In his last full season as a starter, Ben had the 2nd most interceptable passes and the 5th most dangerous plays in addition to ranking 26th in deep-ball percentage, 27th in air yards per attempt, and 28th in red zone completion percentage, according to advanced analytics from But this wasn’t enough to deter the Pittsburgh Steelers from giving him a massive contract extension.

Despite his age and his modest efficiency numbers as a passer in 2018, Roethlisberger was offered a massive two-year, $68 million contract extension last year. In 2021, the Steelers quarterback is set to have the highest cap hit in the entire NFL at the age of 39.

When it came time for Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon to write an article with every team’s most overpaid player, it wasn’t hard to see why Roethlisberger was the pick for Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s what he had to say:

"Following a recent restructure, the Pittsburgh Steelers are stuck to Roethlisberger for the next two seasons. His cap hit for 2021 is an astronomical $41.3 million, and he carries a dead-cap charge of $22.3 million. There’s just no way they’ll pay him that to walk away, which probably means another restructuring will be in order until eventually Pittsburgh bites the bullet.That’s no bueno, considering Roethlisberger is 38 but appears to be going on 49. He’s coming off major surgery on his throwing elbow and a lost season, but before that, he was the NFL’s third-lowest-rated qualified passer, and in 2018 he led the NFL in interceptions.Big Ben looks to be toast, but his salary remains an albatross for a team that has no other players making even half his yearly average."

Gagnon is clearly not a fan of the extension given to Roethlisberger, and it’s not hard to understand why. Though Big Ben is a franchise quarterback who deserves to be paid good money, Pittsburgh is clearly paying for past production with their most recent extension.

To make matters worse, if Ben just doesn’t have it anymore, the Steelers stuck with the NFL’s biggest contract next sesaon for a nearly 40-year old quarterback.

Obviously, the Steelers have a great deal of faith in Roethlisberger, and the star quarterback claims that he feels better than he has in a long time. Pittsburgh’s knows their time to compete for a Super Bowl is now, and with older key contributors on their roster like Cameron Heyward, Alejandro Villanueva, Joe Haden, David DeCastro, and Maurkice Pouncey, they may not get this opportunity again for a long time.

Outside of Roethlisberger, some of the other current worst contracts that could have been considered for the Steelers is Stephon Tuitt’s five-year, $60 million deal he signed back in 2017 or Bud Dupree’s $15.8 million franchise tag he received this season. Other than that, Roethlisberger’s deal runs away with this infamous recognition.

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It’s entirely possible that Ben Roethlisberger could still give the Steelers a few more good years before hanging up his cleats, but he needs to play like a top-three quarterback in the league to justify the massive extension he was given. I just don’t see that happening.