Fans love story lines when it comes to NFL off-season and the 2014 version just got a big one with the news Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has plans to request a trade.
Roethlisberger may have chance to get out thanks to 2014 NFL draft
Many quarterbacks are willing to accept changes in offensive philosophy for the good of the team. Roethlisberger clearly isn’t that type. After so many years of success including two Super Bowl titles, his frustrations with the new direction of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has reached the boiling point. With the team spiraling to a 2-6 record and all but eliminated from playoff contention for the second-straight year, word has leaked that the 31-year old quarterback may ask his team for a trade. Such an idea was floated around last off-season but never taken seriously. This time though is different. Based on their current trajectory the Steelers should end up with a top ten pick in the 2014 NFL draft. That gives them prime real estate to select from what is expected to be a very strong quarterback class. Such leverage might convince the Steelers that unloading Big Ben from an aging team in need of some rebuilding is the right play while his value is still high. The only question at that point is can they find a suitor?
Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings rank as prime options
Of the obstacles facing such a deal, the most difficult part will be Roethlisberger’s contract. He is supposed to make $12 million next year and carries a rather heft salary cap hit. So any team interested in him will need to make sure they have the space available. A clear front runner, at least on paper is the Arizona Cardinals. They did already trade for Carson Palmer but head coach Bruce Arians coached Ben in Pittsburgh prior to leaving for Indianapolis. Together they reached three Super Bowls and won two. Arians knows exactly what he can do and how to use it. The problem for them is salary cap. Projection have them close to the limit next season, which means they would have to re-negotiate some deals in order to create the needed room. If that doesn’t pan out, another team that could enter the picture is the Minnesota Vikings. They’ve tried three different options in 2013 from Christian Ponder to Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman without success. Given how anxious they are to win now, trading for a proven veteran might sound more appealing. Roethlisberger would have Adrian Peterson, a go-to tight end in Kyle Rudolph and some quality receivers in Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson. On top of that the Vikings have extra picks to trade thanks to their deal with Seattle for Percy Harvin.
Ben Roethlisberger has done so many great things for the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, as is the case so often in the NFL, most great things have to come to end at some point.