LATROBE, Pa. -- I’m not sure why Ben Roethlisberger's contract situation was ever an issue.
He wants to play his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Steelers went through too many quarterbacks after Terry Bradshaw to play a high-stakes game of chicken with Roethlisberger over money.
The two sides will get a deal done when the time is right. Roethlisberger still has two years left on the eight-year, $102 million deal he signed in 2008, and next year is much better for the Steelers to get a new deal done with Big Ben. The Steelers will have the kind of salary-cap space after this season to lock up Roethlisberger without compromising the construction of a competitive roster because of the investment they make in their franchise quarterback.
In terms of Roethlisberger and his third contract with the Steelers, it has always been a matter of when and not if, and Kevin Colbert doesn’t anticipate protracted contract talks once the two sides get serious about a new deal.
“Most negotiations aren’t that complicated or time consuming if you have two parties that want to do a deal,” the Steelers general manager said Monday.
That is the case with Roethlisberger and the Steelers. The only question is how much the organization will pay a quarterback who will be 33 years old when he plays under his next -- and presumably final -- contract.
Roethlisberger is still playing at a high level, and his command of the no-huddle offense, from which the coaches lifted the reins in the second half of last season, might be the biggest reason the Steelers won six of their final eight games in 2013.
The 11th-year veteran reported to training camp in excellent shape, and Roethlisberger is as engaged as ever when he is on the field, pointing out to the Steelers' young and new wide receivers the correct way to run a route or simply offering encouragement.
The Steelers, meanwhile, remain committed to building around Roethlisberger.
And if there is any doubt about how much they value him, consider this: When asked if he buys into the thinking that if you have a franchise quarterback in the NFL you have a chance, Colbert did not hesitate to answer.
“Absolutely,” he said.