While many fans and experts are looking forward to the Pittsburgh Steelers upcoming match-up against the Detroit Lions. There are still plenty of fans and experts still debating whether the Steelers should look to trade quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Now as always there are plenty of mixed opinions on what the Steelers should do with the “Big Ben”, but there is one person who is clear on what they want and that person is Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger recently made a statement when asked about being traded and his statement was very clear when he said “I would rather retire than be traded.”
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I don’t know about you but that’s all I needed to hear but some aren’t so sure, so let’s break down the Steelers options as far as keeping Roethlisberger or possibly trading him.
By now everyone knows how extremely inconsistent the Steelers have been this season. The defense has had their issues this season varying from old age, injuries and sometimes just a lack of effort but they aren’t alone. The Steeler offense has also had struggles this season but let’s first remember that Roethlisberger is not the problem when it comes to the Steelers offensive issues. Some people fail to realize how this offense has struggled since hiring Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator. I would even put some blame on the other coaches such as offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. since the offensive line hasn’t done their job all season long either. The offensive line has allowed Roethlisberger to be sacked 35 times so far this season and because of their inconsistent blocking the running game suffers as well. When the Steelers had Bruce Arians as their offensive coordinator, he understood what worked for Roethlisberger, from what I have seen from Haley, he doesn’t. He makes a point to keep Roethlisberger in the pocket way to long which hurts him, especially with the lack of protection. On top of that Roethliberger loves to throw the deep ball and make big plays and it seems that Haley’s play-calling limits that.
Roethlisberger may have a unique style at quarterback, some would even call him reckless, since he makes a point to extend plays and take big chances with his deep throws but no one can deny it has worked. I know when a team goes through struggles, fans typically blame the quarterback but in this case there is no reason for him to be blamed. I also think fans shouldn’t be so quick to forget what Roethlisberger has accomplished. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader with 32,378 passing yards and has led the Steelers to three Super Bowl titles. He also continues to make wide receivers around him better, need I mention players like Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace.
Overall, I say again, Roethlisberger is not the problem. The offensive line has been horrrible which hurts the running game. While I have no issue with Todd Haley, I question if he should be the offensive coordinator for this team, especially is he doesn’t understand Roethlisberger’s game and embrace it. I think this Steeler team needs to do a beter job of putting talent around Roethlisberger and on the defensive side of the ball. The Steelers don’t need a new quarterback in my opinion, you need to fill certain positions like left tackle, cornerback, nose tackle and the list goes on.
However, if you are somebody who believes that Roethlisberger should be traded, there is one pro that comes to mind in trading him. I mention earlier that Todd Haley brings a different type of offense to the Steelers than Bruce Arians did. With that being said, the thought comes to mind that if the Steelers plan to keep Haley and Roethlisberger doesn’t fit his offensive scheme, it may be time to bring in a quarterback that will.
Now of course if the Steelers were to trade Roethlisberger, they probably wouldn’t trade him for another quarterback, if they did they would probably trade for temporary quarterback. For example, if they were to try to trade Roethliberger to the Arizona Cardinals. I could see them trading him for Carson Palmer who isn’t the future of the Cardinals, plus he has a relationship with Bruce Arians. Steelers would also probably try to gain a skill player or high draft picks in that situation. So if they were to make a move like that Palmer wouldn’t be the future of the Steelers but he be a suitable option to finish out the season. I could see them doing that similar scenario with a team like the Minnesota Vikings or even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, basically any team in need of franchise quarterback and who has high draft picks to trade could be an option. Again trading him wouldn’t necessarily mean the Steelers gain their franchise quarterback in the process, it’s allowing them to get rid of Roethlisberger and get something they need such as skill player or high draft picks.
The point is trading Roethlisberger would open up the opportunity for the Steelers to enter the draft and get a quarterback of their choice that they feel fits their offensive scheme under Todd Haley. There should be plenty of quarterbacks to choose from in this year’s NFL Draft like Marcus Mariota, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray and many more. However, this only matters if the Steelers really plan to move on from Roethlisberger and trade him.
If I had to make a suggestion, if the Steelers do decided to keep Roethlisberger, I would suggest that the Steelers still draft a quarterback in the draft just to cover their backside but it doesn’t have to be in the first round of the draft. There are always plenty of players who drop down to the late rounds and the quarterback position is no different. So they could always draft someone to be the back-up but at the same time someone they believe could be the future quarterback, that’s what San Francisco and New England did, so it’s not a bad option, if they really want to draft a quarterback.
Overall, I think the Steelers should keep Roethlisberger, if anything, their goal should be to fix the offensive line which will help with improving the run game. Ultimately they need to get that Steeler defense back on track which they can do through the draft and free agency. Roethlisberger said he “would rather retire than be traded.” I wouldn’t take those words lightly, this is a man and quarterback who loves this team and organization and believes in seeing and helping this team get back on track, so give him the opportunity and start to re-build around him.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com