NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

5 Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Should Extend Ben Roethlisberger’s Contract

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5 Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Should Extend Ben Roethlisberger's Contract

Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire USA TODAY Sports

Among the myriad of issues the Pittsburgh Steelers face this offseason, one is not quite getting as much publicity as it should. That issue is the contract of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. His contract ends after the 2015 season, and although the Steelers have openly said they want to, and plan to, extend Roethlisberger's contract, there has been little to no traction between the quarterback and the organization in this regard.

Any Steelers fan will gladly give you a million reasons why Roethlisberger should remain with the team, and there is certainly nothing that has happened that would shine any light on anything other than a contract extension taking place. However, simply giving the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback a new deal is not as easy as it may sound.

Roethlisberger was just the second player in NFL history to become a part of the "Million Dollar Man Club" along with Donovan McNabb. Since that contract was inked in 2008. Regardless of what anyone says from the Steelers or Roethlisberger's camp, signing a new deal is not going to be as easy as it may seem. Especially not when quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Tony Romo are getting gigantic deals from their respective teams.

The Steelers need to keep Roethlisberger, and any thoughts of trading or releasing the quarterback are as fictional as a Stephen King novel. Simply put, the Steelers need Roethlisberger to compete.

Although Terrible Towel toting Steelers fans will give you a million reasons, I am going to give you five why the Steelers must extend Roethlisberger's contract.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.

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5 - Roethlisberger Thriving In New System

Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire USA TODAY Sports

Say what you want about Todd Haley as an offensive coordinator, but numbers don't lie. In the second year of the Haley experiment, the offense thrived. Typically it takes a few seasons for a coordinator's system to truly take effect. He will be able to bring in players he wants and get rid of those he doesn't, and the players will be more acclimated to the system as a whole. Roethlisberger might not be best friends with Haley, but the two have certainly come to a compromise on the field. Roethlisberger had the second best statistical season last year, and a large part of that is due to the quick-hitting no-huddle offense that was so successful in the second half of the season.

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4 - Roethlisberger In Prime of His Career

Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire USA TODAY Sports

Say what you want about the amount of hits and sacks that Roethlisberger has absorbed throughout his career, the man is entering the prime of his career. Will Roethlisberger be able to play till he is 40 years old like some other quarterbacks have? Probably not, but at age 31, Roethlisberger is entering the prime of his career. This was clearly evident this past season as his football IQ was put on display as he ran the no-huddle offense to near perfection the second half of the season. During that second half, the Steelers bounced back from a 2-6 start to finish 6-2, and a large part of the credit for the turnaround goes to Roethlisberger. When Roethlisberger is in the lineup, you can never count out the Steelers.

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3 - Coming Off Full Season Without An Injury

Pittsburgh Steelers
Jason Bridge USA TODAY Sports

Outside of finances, Roethlisberger is coming off one of his best statistical seasons of his career. On top of the statistics is the fact that for only the second time in his 10-year career, Roethlisberger made it through a 16-game schedule without missing any time due to injury. No broken fingers, sprained ankles or dislocated shoulders hindered Roethlisberger and that will only help him next season. Roethlisberger has already been reportedly working out with his wide receivers in California. That is something that couldn't be done if he were recovering from injury.

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2 - Have Big Ben Retire A Steeler

Pittsburgh Steelers
Jason Bridge USA TODAY Sports

Roethlisberger has openly stated that he wants to remain a Pittsburgh Steeler for life. He compares himself in every way to the most successful quarterback in Steelers history, Terry Bradshaw. And Bradshaw never played a down for another franchise. Extending Roethlisberger's contract will guarantee that he never dons another jersey other than the black and gold No. 7, and that is something that every Steelers fan wants to see.

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1 - Help With The Steelers' Salary Cap Situation

Pittsburgh Steelers
David Butler II USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are already $9.6 million over the NFL's salary cap, and that could get worse as the offseason begins. The Steelers will have to trim the fat off some contracts, and Roethlisberger's might be atop the list. Roethlisberger is due $12.1 million toward the salary cap this season. If the Steelers could extend Roethlisberger's current deal, they could re-structure the money to make his cap hit much more friendly. If the Steelers don't extend Roethlisberger's deal, expect him to re-structure and the extension to follow after the 2014 season.