That optimism is due in large part to the Pittsburgh Steelers prioritizing an improved roster over a new mega contract for their quarterback.
Team president Art Rooney II explained Friday that Roethlisberger has been informed the Steelers will not extend his contract until after the 2014 season, when salary-cap space becomes available.
"Yes, all of those things are factors in the decision," Rooney explained, via the team's official website. "The other key thing is that Ben wants to be part of a winning team, to be in a position to compete for championships, and he understands that in order to do that we need to try to keep as many of the other players around as we can.
"So, addressing the players who are going into the final years of their contracts in 2014 makes sense. That's what he and I talked about."
Roethlisberger is willing to remain underpaid by current franchise-quarterback standards because he wants the strongest roster possible for a shot at a third Super Bowl ring.
As one of the NFL's five best quarterbacks, he is line for at least $50 million in guarantees with a $20 million annual salary on his next contract.