Report: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers ‘Working Hard’ on New Contract Before Draft
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 23: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 23, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly “working hard” to finalize a contract extension with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the update Tuesday and noted the Steelers would like to get the new deal in place before the 2019 NFL draft kicks off Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

Roethlisberger has one season left on his current four-year, $87.4 million contract, which he signed with the organization in March 2015.

The 37-year-old Ohio native has considered retirement in recent years. In July 2017, he told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there were a lot of factors, including the amount of time he spends away from family during football season and CTE studies, that made him think about walking away.

“There’s a lot of scary things, and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too,” Roethlisberger said. “But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have this year.”

His comments about retiring have faded away, however, and he was quick to state he’d return for 2019 as long as center Maurkice Pouncey would also be back:

BryanDeArdo @BryanDeArdo

Ben confirms plans for 2018 season. https://t.co/zN6OE4TIVD

Roethlisberger has continued to perform at a high level, leading the NFL with 5,129 passing yards during the 2018 regular season. He also completed 67 percent of his throws with 34 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while playing in all 16 games for Pittsburgh.

The Miami (Ohio) product ranked fourth in ESPN’s Total QBR and 16th among quarterbacks in Pro Football Focus‘ grades last year.

With Pouncey, 29, signing an extension through 2021 in March, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Big Ben inks a contract keeping him linked to the Steelers for the same time period. The quarterback and center are tightly knit and could very well retire together at some point in the future.

Even if Roethlisberger does sign a new deal, Pittsburgh may still add another developmental QB late in the draft to compete with Mason Rudolph as a potential heir apparent.

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