Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is the 3rd-highest-paid player in NFL history

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is the 3rd-highest-paid player in NFL history

Ben Roethlisberger has had a great career with the Steelers. Here’s why he has netted more money than all but two players in the history of the NFL.

It’s debatable whether or not Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has ever been a top-three NFL quarterback during any season of his NFL career. What’s not debatable is that he is third all-time in earnings in the history of the game.

According to Spotrac, Roethlisberger has earned a whopping $253 million in his NFL career. This slots him only behind future First-Ballot Hall of Famers Drew Brees and Tom Brady:

All-Time #NFL Earners1. Drew Brees, $269M2. Tom Brady, $263M3. Ben Roethlisberger, $253M4. Eli Manning, $252M5. Peyton Manning, $248M6. Matt Ryan, $244M7. Philip Rivers, $243M8. Aaron Rodgers, $240M9. Matthew Stafford, $226M10. Alex Smith, $189M

Noting that Big Ben is above some impressive names on this list like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, one must wonder: does he deserve to be the third-highest-paid player in the history of the game?

Has Big Ben earned more than he’s worth for the Steelers?

This question is more difficult to answer than it appears at first. Part of me wants to say that he’s been worth every penny thanks to the two Super Bowl victories he has brought to the city. Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl wins are tied only with New England for the most ever.

However, there’s a different way to look at this. Ben Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl wins and appearances came in the first half of his NFL career. Ben’s rookie contract was understandably cheap, and his second contract was an absolute bargain. In 2008, he earned a 6-year, $87.9 million contract that would pay him just $14.6 million in average yearly salary and just $33 million guaranteed, according to Over the Cap.

  Super Bowl XLV

Unfortunately, we can argue that the Steelers never got their money’s worth out of the contracts Roethlisberger has signed since 2015. Despite having a few impressive seasons, Ben broke the bank with his last two contracts – earning a whopping $148 million since 2015. His worst deal for the Steelers was a two-year $68 million extension that Ben earned at the ripe old age of 37 in 2019. This briefly gave him the highest cap hit of any player in the NFL.

Essentially, the Steelers wanted to treat their Super Bowl-winning quarterback right. But by doing so, they overpaid him because of his past production – not what he was worth at the time of his last two contract extensions. Pittsburgh obviously wanted to keep the face of their franchise happy, but his extremely steep price tag over the past several years may have come at the expense of the team.

Times change in the NFL, and so does the salary cap. Because of when he played and the fact that he brought two more Super Bowls to Pittsburgh, it’s reasonable to see why Ben Roethlisberger is the third-highest-paid player in the history of the NFL.