|ESPN.com: NFL||[Print without images]|
LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Monday that signing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a long-term contract is just a matter of when, not if.
"I don't see any circumstance where Ben won't finish his career here," said Colbert, who is more than confident that the two sides will come to an agreement on a new deal after this season.
The Steelers have informed Roethlisberger, who has two years left on his current deal, that they won't sign him to a new deal before the start of the season.
Colbert, reiterating what team president Art Rooney II said last week, instead said the Steelers will try to sign players who are going into the final year of their contract so they don't risk losing them.
Cornerback Cortez Allen, outside linebacker Jason Worilds, right tackle Marcus Gilbert and kicker Shaun Suisham are all entering the final year of their contract.
"We'd like to be able to do as much business as we can within our constraints, time-wise and cap-wise," Colbert said.
The Steelers have until Sept. 7 to sign players to new deals since team policy is not to negotiate contracts during the season. Colbert said the Steelers are less than $6 million under the salary cap, which is another reason they will wait until after the season to re-sign Roethlisberger.
|QB Ben Roethlisberger, who has two years left on his current deal, will make $12.1 million in base salary this season.|
The cap is expected to spike again next year and the Steelers should have plenty of room to get a deal done with their starting quarterback.
Roethlisberger, one of only three active quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowls, will make $12.1 million in base salary this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and his salary-cap hit is $18.895 million.
When asked if the organization is taking a risk of Roethlisberger's price tag shooting up if he has a good season, Colbert said bring it on.
"That would be wonderful if he has his best career year ever and we win the Super Bowl," Colbert said.
Roethlisberger, who turned 32 in March, expressed confidence following the first practice of training camp that his contract situation will get resolved and that he will be able to achieve his goal of playing his entire career in Pittsburgh.
"I have faith that the Steelers will do what we need to do when it's time and that's putting people on the field through free agency, trades, drafts to make us the best team that we can possibly be," Roethlisberger said Saturday. "When we get here there is no contract talk. It's time to play football and that's what I'm excited about."