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Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers reach 5-year, $99M deal

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are not going to let Ben Roethlisberger get away anytime soon.

The team announced that Roethlisberger has signed a new five-year deal. That contract is worth $99 million and can escalate to $108 million, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, per a source informed of the situation. He was set to hit free agency after the 2015 season, but general manager Kevin Colbert said recently he was confident the two sides would come to terms.

Big Ben was overdue for a contract upgrade after watching guys like Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and Jay Cutler zoom past him in compensation. Roethlisberger was due $11.6 million in 2015, a number that could double under this new contract.

We've heard plenty of predictions that Roethlisberger could break down as he gets older because of his style of play. But the reality is that he's playing at the same high level as ever. He's not nearly as nimble afoot as he once was, but the mental side of his game has vastly improved. The Steelers take advantage of his vertical accuracy in Todd Haley's offense while also letting him make more decisions behind the line of scrimmage. Roethlisberger led the league with a career-high 4,952 yards in 2015. His 7.9 yards-per-attempt average is sixth in NFL history and second among active players.

Roethlisberger is the first of the triumvirate of quarterbacks drafted in 2004 to receive a second megadeal. Roethlisberger nearly played out the entire eight-year, $102 million contract he signed back in 2008. Now Philip Rivers and Eli Manning are coming up on their deals and figure to get similarly big extensions. (We'd argue that Manning should receive far less security than Rivers and Roethlisberger.)

Much like Tom Brady, Roethlisberger has actually improved since winning his early titles. With Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller catching passes, the Steelers' offense is more loaded than it's ever been in Roethlisberger's career. (With improved pass protection to boot.)

This is Roethlisberger's team more than ever. Now is his window to chase that third Super Bowl ring before eventually joining all those other Steelers greats in Canton.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down DeMarco Murray's move to the Eagles and breaks down which teams have been wise in free agency. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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