Despite his huge popularity and a Super Bowl win under his belt, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will enter his fourth NFL season among the lowest-paid starting quarterbacks in the NFL this fall with a salary of $1 million this year, not including a $9 million signing bonus as well as roster bonuses during his first year with the team. Despite these bonuses, Roethlisberger is even making less than his backup quarter back, Charlie Batch, who will make $1,355,000 this season. With Steelers such as Alan Faneca publicly announcing difficulties with his contract extension, and Troy Polamalu announcing that he will be a free agent after this year as well, you have to admire Big Ben for taking what he’s been given.

After all, Roethlisberger has three years left on his six-year rookie contract that he signed back in 2004 worth $14.26 million plus an $8 million roster bonus due to him on March 5, 2009. The Steelers’ unwritten rule is that contracts are not extended until there is a year left on their current contract. However, quarterbacks tend to have exceptions to this rule, such as Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox whose contracts were extended with two years left. Unless the rules are bent even more for the Steelers’ Super Bowl star, Ben will have to wait at least another year before he sees any more money. When the time comes, he could end up earning more money than Pittsburgh’s highest paid athlete, former Penguin Mario Lemieux.

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