Roethlisberger gets more than $36 million in guarantees in new deal

Updated: March 3, 2008, 5:43 PM ET
By Michael Smith | ESPN.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have agreed to a new eight-year, $102 million contract.

The contract, which includes more than $36 million in guarantees and is easily the largest in team history, places Roethlisberger among the game's highest-paid players. In comparison, Peyton Manning received a $34.5 million signing bonus in his big deal and Michael Vick received $37 million in guarantees from the Falcons in his mega deal.

Roethlisberger now joins Manning, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, the suspended Vick and the retired Drew Bledsoe in the $100 million quarterback club.

$100 million men

Ben Roethlisberger became the seventh player in NFL history to sign a $100 million contract.

Player Team Contract
Ben Roethlisberger, 2008 Steelers 8 years, $102M
Carson Palmer, 2005 Bengals 9 years, $118.75M
Michael Vick, 2004 Falcons 10 years, $130M
Daunte Culpepper, 2003 Vikings 10 years, $102M
Donovan McNabb, 2002 Eagles 12 years, $115M
Drew Bledsoe, 2001 Patriots 10 years, $103M
Brett Favre, 2001 Packers 10 years, $101M

"This is about being a Pittsburgh Steeler for as long as I can be. I love Pittsburgh," Roethlisberger said. He added that he "wanted to be like the Dan Marinos, like the John Elways, guys who played with one team their whole career."

Roethlisberger's agents, Ryan and Bruce Tollner of REP 1 Sports, traveled to Pittsburgh to finalize the deal with the Steelers late Sunday night.

"Ben has been an outstanding leader on the field for the Steelers since his rookie year and we are very happy to know that he will be our quarterback for many years to come," Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement.

Roethlisberger, who turned 26 on Sunday, is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he completed more than 65 percent of his passes with a team-record 32 touchdowns and an efficiency rating of 104.1, leading the Steelers to an AFC North title and the playoffs for the third time in his four seasons.

Roethlisberger, who two years ago became the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl, grew as a team leader last season and bounced back from a disappointing 2006 before which his offseason was marred by a serious motorcycle accident and an appendectomy.

Roethlisberger was the third quarterback taken in the '04 draft, behind Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, and the 11th choice overall. He started 13 games his rookie season and was voted offensive rookie of the year, the first quarterback to win the award since it was first given in 1957. The next year he led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory.

Roethlisberger is now focused on getting "a bunch more trophies."

"I believe that the guys we have on this team right now are exceptional players," he said. "I believe we all have the pieces of the puzzle, that we could be a championship football team, and I think that we know the history that we have of drafting well, we'll be able to bring guys in that will hopefully do more."

Michael Smith is a senior writer for ESPN.com. ESPN.com's John Clayton contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Michael Smith

NFL Senior Writer
Michael Smith joined ESPN in July 2004 as a National Football League senior writer for ESPN.com, covering league news and major events such as the NFL Draft, NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl, and continues to write breaking news stories. He is also a correspondent for E:60, ESPN's first multi-themed prime-time newsmagazine program, which debuted October 2007.

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