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Ben Roethlisberger among 6 starters eligible for contract extensions in Steelers offseason

Chris Adamski
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Steelers have 14 players who are due to hit unrestricted free agency in the spring, four more restricted free agents and nine players who are exclusive-rights free agents. But when it comes to the biggest news regarding contracts with the Steelers over the offseason, it might more likely come from those who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2020.

The Steelers like to lock up their starters to contract extensions a year before they are to hit the market. And after a relatively light 2018 in that regard (Ramon Foster, Vince Williams and Chris Boswell were the headliners in that category; the latter two got extensions in August), there are some big names who are entering the final season of their contracts in 2019.

Start with the biggest – Ben Roethlisberger, who has gone on record recently that he intends to keep playing.

Ironically, the way he expressed that after Sunday’s season-ending game was to say, “If No. 53 is coming back, I’m coming back.” No. 53 is center Maurkice Pouncey, who also is entering the final year of his contract.

Other players of note are cornerback Joe Haden, safety Sean Davis, defensive lineman Javon Hargrave, inside linebacker Jon Bostic and slot receiver Eli Rogers.

The contracts of Roethlisberger ($23.2 million), Haden ($11.9 million) and Pouncey ($10.55 million) have the three highest cap hits the Steelers carried this season. Those three, Davis and Hargarve are starters.

For Haden, his turn at a possible extension comes just 16 months after he arrived in Pittsburgh; he signed a three-year, $27 million contract a day after the Browns released him in August 2017.

“Oh man, it is what it is,” Haden said when asked about an extension. “I’m really happy with the Steelers, I really like being here. And we will figure that out when the time comes.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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