'Big Ben' could lose millions via suspension

Embattled Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likely will be suspended at the start of the 2010 season--and the move could cost him millions.


RoethlisbergerAccording to his contract, Roethlisberger has a base salary of $8.05 million this upcoming season. Therefore, it would cost "Big Ben" $473,529 -- or one-seventeenth of his salary -- for every game he is forced to sit. Players are paid by the league in 17 increments.

In addition, Roethlisberger also could lose a small percentage of his $25.2 million signing bonus if the Steelers choose to pursue it. In 2008 Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million contract with the Steelers that remains the largest deal in franchise history.

But since then Roethlisberger has faced two sexual assault allegations in less than a year. The most recent allegation, in Milledgeville, Ga., has caught the attention of the Steelers and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Roethlisberger wasn't charged but is expected to be suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Missing two games would cost the star quarterback $947,058 this season, four games would deduct approximately $1.894 million, and an eight-game suspension would slice Roethlisberger's 2010 salary by just over $3.788 million.