LATROBE, Pa. -- Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s new contract won’t change the Steelers’ approach to Ben Roethlisberger and that includes their intention to reward their franchise quarterback when the time is right.
The Steelers have concluded that is after the season when room under the salary cap isn’t expected to be an issue -- and they can pay Roethlisberger, whose base salary is $12.1 million thie year, top dollar without putting too much strain on the cap.
Roethlisberger turns 33 in March but he is still playing at a high level, and general manager Kevin Colbert said he has never seen the Steelers’ franchise quarterback look better.
“I think he’s had as good a spring as I’ve ever seen him have,” Colbert told ESPN.com on Monday. “I think he’s continued to move that into training camp and right now he’s getting acclimated to the young guys we have at wide receiver and at running back.”
Roethlisberger has been nothing if not engaged when working with the wide receivers, and he has coached them during training camp as much as he has thrown to them.
The Steelers are brimming with talent at wide receiver and there may not be a more intriguing player at the position than rookie Martavis Bryant.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder has a unique blend of size and speed, and Bryant has flashed that in recent practices.
He dominated a red zone drill on Saturday. The next day Bryant stretched out to make a sideline catch of a Bruce Gradkowski pass that initially looked like it had been way overthrown.
“He’s faster than what most people think he is,” Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said. “He just has a few routes he needs to work on and I’m sure the coaches are going to use his ability.”
Taylor went as far as to say that Bryant has a chance to make an impact similar to what former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace did as a rookie in 2009. Wallace emerged as the Steelers’ No. 3 wide receiver that season and caught 39 passes for 756 yards and six touchdowns.
“Nobody has Mike Wallace’s speed but as far as having that kind of ability, yes, I do think [Bryant] has that kind of ability,” Taylor said. “When you’ve got a guy who’s 6-4, who can pretty much run with anybody and can jump and catch, that’s a good sign.”