Steelers, who didn't pay Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown, paid Ben Roethlisberger a ton

The contract numbers for Ben Roethlisberger are in, and they’re large.

Roethlisberger had his contract extended by two years for an amazing $63 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The Steelers chose Ben. By not paying Le’Veon Bell what he wanted and shipping off Antonio Brown (that situation was much more complicated, but clearly Brown wanted a raise that he eventually got with the Oakland Raiders), Roethlisberger became the unquestioned focal point of the franchise.

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Not that that’s bad, or wrong. Roethlisberger is probably going to the Hall of Fame someday and plays the most important position in sports. But it’s impossible to miss.

Ben Roethlisberger is among highest paid in NFL

Hey, remember when Roethlisberger was apparently considering retirement?

Whatever changed, it changed in a big way. Roethlisberger’s extension locks him up through the 2021 season, which will be his age-39 season. Roethlisberger turned 37 in March.

Roethlisberger’s extension that added two more years onto his contract, which was set to expire after this season, is $31.5 million per season. Only Russell Wilson ($35 million) and Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million) are above that.

This is how quarterbacks get paid. Roethlisberger is still at a very high level, having just led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards. But given the Steelers’ drama, his contract is a bit interesting.

Roethlisberger is last one standing

For a short time, the Steelers had arguably the best running back and receiver in the NFL, with a quarterback likely going to Canton.

Roethlisberger is the last one left. The Steelers never gave Bell the long-term contract he wanted, hoping he’d play out a couple franchise tags and then they could move on. Bell turned the tables by holding out all last season. He signed with the New York Jets in March.

Brown got in a dispute with Roethlisberger during a Week 17 practice. While the details have been disputed, it set in motion the events that led to Brown being traded. Before he was traded, Brown unloaded on Roethlisberger a bit, leading to a discussion in Pittsburgh about Roethlisberger’s leadership style. Brown reportedly blew up a trade to the Buffalo Bills but accepted one to the Raiders that included a big raise.

Brown and Bell are gone. Roethlisberger got a contract that could have been used to pay both Brown and Bell. Big Ben won this strange Pittsburgh version of “Game of Thrones.” Now the pressure will be on even more.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) got an extension worth more than $30 million per season. (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) got an extension worth more than $30 million per season. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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