A report came out on earlier today that Ben Roethlisberger is reportedly going to ask the Pittsburgh Steelers to explore trade options after the 2013 season.
Obviously, Roethlisberger’s going to be frustrated with the direction this team’s headed. However, there’s a long list of follow up questions when it comes to Roethlisberger being traded.
It’s hard to believe that this organization would let Roethlisberger go. Reports came out that the Steelers fielded trade offers for Roethlisberger last season and those reports were followed up by more reports saying that that was false and the only time the Steelers explored trading Roethlisberger was when he was dealing with off field issues. Roethlisberger’s agent chimed in saying the following:
“Ian Rapoport’s apparent sources seem to be guessing what Ben feels about the Steelers and being traded. This is completely wrong and inaccurate,” said Ryan Tollner. “Ben has always said he wants to play his entire career for the Steelers, and his roots are set firmly in Pittsburgh. He has a lot left in the tank an is 100 percent committed to winning more championships with the Steelers.”
The quarterback himself mimicked what his agent had to say when he was asked about the rumors following the Steelers 23-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.
“When it comes to going somewhere else, anything like that’s completely unacceptable,” said Roethlisberger. “I don’t know where that came from, that’s one of the most B.S. stories I’ve ever heard of. I love it here, I’m happy here.”
Roethlisberger’s is under contract through the 2015 season while extension talks would most likely come this offseason. Roethlisberger is going to strap $18.895 million when in comes to the salary cap. According to Over the Cap, the Steelers would take $14 million dollar hit to their cap if they traded Big Ben away. Even though that’s lower than what he’s going to take up next season, it still wouldn’t make that much sense because they’d need to bring in a replacement and would probably have to spend a good penny on whoever comes in, if they wanted a quality player that is. There’s no doubt that contract issues come into play when discussing a Roethlisberger trade.
Roethlisberger is a high value quarterback. This brings up the question of what team could actually make a play for Roethlisberger. There really aren’t a whole lot of teams that could bring Roethlisberger in for the price he wants. One team that keeps popping up into conversation is the Arizona Cardinals, which makes sense: former Steelers’ offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is now the head coach out in Arizona.
Arians and Roethlisberger were buddies back in Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger wasn’t happy when Arians was forced out of the Steel City. Putting Roethlisberger back with Arians and giving him a wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and a quality defense would make Roethlisberger want to make his way to Arizona.
If it did turn out to be true and the team did explore trading Ben, it would be a huge mistake on their part. What Roethlisberger has brought to this franchise is something they had been searching for since Terry Bradshaw called it quits. Roethlisberger has played in three Super Bowls has won two of them. At this point, the Steelers need to be willing to let Big Ben call some of the shots.
This is complicated though, because the Steelers are a very stubborn franchise. In their storied history they’ve only had three different head coaches: Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and current head coach, Mike Tomlin. The Steelers take a lot of pride when it comes to sticking to their guns. However, the past two seasons have been “below the standard” and the Steelers are going to need to make changes.
One change that needs to happen is the offensive coordinator. It’s clear that bringing in Todd Haley wasn’t the right move, not when you have a quarterback like Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger and Haley don’t go together.
A lot of people thought Haley should’ve been out after his first season with the team. The Steelers would never do that though; they wouldn’t run a coach out after just one down season. Now the team’s facing two down seasons and the Steelers need to man up, admit that bringing Haley was a bad idea and cut ties with him. Roethlisberger should have a lot of influence on who the next OC is, and if the Steelers are smart they’ll listen to him.
The Steelers will never consider themselves in the “rebuilding phase”, their motive’s clear. They want to win, not rebuild. If they want to win, Roethlisberger needs to stay put. I don’t think the Steelers have the right staff surrounding them to make a good draft pick for a future franchise quarterback and I certainly don’t see the torch being passed on to Landry Jones.
This season has been filled with a lot of emotions for the Steelers and this is just the start of a hectic offseason.
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