Sports Magazine

Black n' Gold Blitz : Is Big Ben - The 100 Million Dollar Man - Worth It?

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
So while "Bucco Fever" has caught everyone by storm, I was reminded that we are only 23 short days away from the Pittsburgh Steelers rolling into Latrobe, PA to begin their yearly ritual of narrowing down a camp of 80+ to a 53 man roster. While perusing articles this morning, I couldn't help but notice the article that states that Ben Roethlisberger has nearly garnered 70 million of his 102 Million Dollar contract. A large part of the fact that he has collected so much money is the contract re-structuring carousel the Steelers ride on a yearly basis to stay well under the NFL's Salary Cap. With all of that said, the question I asked myself this guy worth 100 Million Dollars? Obviously, the likelihood of him collecting all 102 million is rare. He will either be let go, or he will sign an extension which will maneuver his money around, but is he worth it? Lets take a look.
Ben Roethlisberger is at least a Top 6 QB in the NFL, and has been for the better part of the last 6-7 years. Although he has never reached Brady, Manning, Brees, or Rodgers status...he has held his own amongst the NFL's elite QBs. We all know that Roethlisberger can handle the QB position, but the biggest question regarding Ben Roethlisberger has been his health. Whether it was the knee injury in 2005, the chest/shoulder/sternum injury of 2012, the thumb injury, the rotator cuff, I could go on and on, but these injuries have put him on the shelf far too often. Is it his fault? His style of play isn't conducive to staying healthy, but the man has only played one complete season since completing his rookie season and even that season was the year he had to sit out the first 4 games due to a suspension by the NFL. Injuries cannot be blamed on one person, but injuries happen, and that certainly has to play a role in the part of the Steelers in the fact that Big Ben has 2 years left in his current "package" where the Steelers will have to either extend his contract or cut ties.
Success paints a different picture to the injury debate though. There are few QBs in the NFL that have seen the success that Ben Roethlisberger has, and that dates back to his rookie season where I believe Roethlisberger holds a record that will NEVER be touched...winning 13 straight games as a rookie. Granted, this was during the "Hand off" era where Roethlisberger's stat line typically looked like this: 10-17 passing, 1 TD / 0 INT. Look beyond those first two seasons and you see a different QB. A QB that leads the team and knows how to make plays when they need to be made. Some say that a QB is only as good as his wide receivers, but look at who Big Ben has had to throw to in the past: Hines Ward (Should be a HOFer), Plaxico Burress, Antwaan Randle El, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Mike Wallace, Jerricho Cotchery, Heath Miller, Jerame Tuman, Limas Sweed, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, Matt Spaeth, and many more that I am leaving out. There are some real stud WRs in the group, but also some receivers that aren't with the team anymore and aren't employed by the National Football League anymore either. Ben hasn't had the most talented WR core, but he has made something out of nothing on numerous occasions. Ben Roethlisberger is a winner...plain and simple.
Say what you want about the offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but its gone from the trickery of Ken Whisenhunt, to the "love the deep pass" of Bruce Arians (also the throw on 3rd and 1 Bruce Arians), and now to the controlled "West Coast" hybrid offense of Todd Haley. Its rare anymore that any QB keeps an offensive coordinator for his entire career, but do you think that when the Broncos brought in an offensive coordinator that Peyton Manning didn't have the final say on what the system was going to look like? You don't think the same isn't done with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers? Those players run the offense. For some reason, the Steelers hesitate letting Ben "loose" with the offense, and because of that it stalls itself out. Changing of the offense can certainly hurt a QBs production, but Roethlisberger has taken it all and stride and been successful under each (Haley being the exception as he is going into Year 2). He won Super Bowl 40 under Whisenhunt, won Super Bowl 43 and got to Super Bowl 45 with Arians, and believe it or not was having one of his best statistical years of his career under Haley before hurting his shoulder/chest on the MNF game vs the KC Chiefs.
To answer my own question of "Is Ben Roethlisberger worth the 70 Million he has already made?" Looking over his stats, his accomplishments, and his career to this point...the answer is a solid YES. Now, personally, I don't think any one human being is worth THAT much money, but the football market is what it is, and Ben Roethlisberger is worth every dime. He is the perfect QB for this team, and I still believe that his best year's area ahead of him. If the Steelers are smart, they make sure Big Ben retires a Steeler and sign him to an extension as soon as possible. July 26th (opening of Training Camp) will be here before you know it SteelerNation!

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